BG - Car Accidents

Personal Injury

Personal injury law, also known as tort law, is the most common form of civil litigation. It is a legal avenue for an injured person to pursue payment for damages incurred due to another party’s intentional or negligent action. 

Most personal injury cases settle without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, but every case is different. Suppose you suffered an injury or lost someone you love in an avoidable accident. In that case, you deserve compensation for your losses, and a personal injury lawyer can help you adequately calculate the damages.

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What Are the Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases?

No two personal injury cases are the same, but to file a personal injury lawsuit, you need three crucial elements:

  1. The defendant must owe the plaintiff a duty of care. For example, in an auto accident case, the defendant is responsible for doing their utmost to keep everyone around them safe on the road.
  2. The defendant breached that duty of care and caused an accident.
  3. The accident caused the plaintiff’s injury.

As the plaintiff, the burden of proof falls on you, meaning you must prove each of these three elements. How you do that depends on the type of case and the available evidence. The following are the most common types of personal injury cases.

Auto Accident Cases

Auto accident cases encompass a variety of different collision types, including car accidents, semi or commercial truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bus accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents. In the moments following a serious auto accident, you may struggle to collect yourself, but if you are physically able, you can do a few things to protect your rights. Follow these simple steps:

  • Get emergency medical attention. If you or anyone else suffers a severe injury, contact 911 immediately and wait for emergency services to arrive. 
  • Contact the police. Most states require you to contact the police for collisions resulting in injuries or significant damages. When the police arrive, they will conduct an investigation and file a report you can later access.
  • Gather contact information. Ask the other driver for their insurance and license information. Additionally, write down the names and phone numbers of any eyewitnesses.
  • Document damages. If you have a smartphone available, take photos of everything you see, including any injuries on your body and damage to the vehicles.
  • See your doctor. Sometimes car accident victims avoid having a medical evaluation, but you should see a doctor even if you feel fine. Medical records are excellent sources of evidence for injury claims.
  • Contact a personal injury lawyerSpeaking with an attorney while the accident details are freshest is your best option. Additionally, an attorney will act quickly to help you file a claim and get the compensation you need.

Every state has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. Most allow between two and three years, but the sooner you file, the stronger your case will be.

Medical Malpractice

If you suffered an injury caused by the negligence of a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse, or even a facility, such as a private practice or hospital, you may file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Examples of malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Prescribing the wrong dosage of medication
  • Errors in surgery or anesthesia

These cases are often complex and challenging to prove. More often than not, plaintiffs need the help of a legal professional with experience in medical malpractice cases.

If you sustained an injury due to an unsafe condition on someone else’s property, your accident and the resulting lawsuit would fall under the legal concept of premises liability. Simply put, premises liability states that property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions on their property for anyone who enters lawfully. Anyone with a direct or implied invitation from the owner is considered a legal visitor.

The most common example of a premises liability case is a slip and fall accident. For example, if you slip and fall on black ice in a parking lot, you could potentially sue the parking lot owner if they had sufficient time to clear the ice and failed to do so. Similarly, if you fall in a restaurant bathroom or supermarket aisle because of wet floors without signage, you can sue the property owner for failing to protect the safety of customers.

Product Liability

Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that the products they advertise and sell are safe for consumers, and there are many federal and state laws in place to provide that protection.

Unfortunately, however, defective products sometimes make it onto the market. For example, suppose you have a tire blowout while driving down the road and discover that the manufacturer failed to conduct required testing before distribution or missed a flaw during the design phase. In that case, you could file a product liability lawsuit against the company. Product liability cases are heavily nuanced and require extensive knowledge about consumer protection laws. Additionally, you have an immediate disadvantage when going up against a large corporation. However, a personal injury lawyer with experience in product liability can help you value your claim and combat arguments from the defense’s legal team.

Workers’ compensation cases rarely require significant legal action. In most cases, you can handle the insurance claim yourself. However, certain circumstances may call for the help of an attorney. For example, contact a lawyer if:

  • The insurance provider denies your claim
  • You sustained an injury to a body part with a preexisting condition
  • The insurance company will not settle
  • Your injury results in an inability to work
  • There is a dispute involving your permanent disability rating
  • You cannot get the medical treatment you need

Your chances of receiving a fairer settlement are significantly higher with the help of a legal professional.

You may file a wrongful death lawsuit if another party’s negligence results in the death of a loved one. State laws dictate who can file a wrongful death case, but most limit it to spouses, children, and immediate family members. Some states allow the parents of a lost fetus to sue for compensation under the claim of wrongful death. The most common plaintiff is the executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

What Damages Can You Recover From a Personal Injury Case?

To file any personal injury case, you must be able to prove that you suffered losses caused by the accident and your injuries. The specifics of what damages you can recover depend on the value of your losses and the severity of your injuries. However, you can generally categorize most personal injury damages as compensatory.

Compensatory damages include the economic and non-economic losses for which your settlement or award should make whole. Additionally, if the party responsible for your accident and injuries acted with malintent or gross negligence, you may also sue for punitive damages. Below is a basic overview of compensatory and punitive damages. However, you can learn more about how these apply to your case by speaking with a personal injury lawyer.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the specific financial losses associated with your injuries. They include:

  • Cost of medical bills. You can request compensation for any past or future medical treatments, including visits to the hospital or doctor, necessary medical devices, and medications. 
  • Lost income and benefits. If your injury hinders you from going to work or causes you to lose the ability to perform your job as before, you can request compensation for lost wages. Additionally, if you lost benefits, such as pension or retirement, you can request recovery of those as well.
  • Any other monetary losses. Auto accident victims often seek compensation for damaged property. You may also ask for the cost of household care needed during your recovery or transportation costs back and forth to medical visits.

To claim any damages, you must provide evidence of those losses. For example, evidence for medical treatment includes bills from hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. To prove lost income, you can provide pay stubs from before and after your injuries, and for future lost income, your attorney may request recent tax returns. Any other monetary losses may have receipts or estimates from related professionals. Collecting these documents can be cumbersome, but an attorney will typically take care of it for you.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more general and typically more challenging to quantify. These are the mental and emotional losses directly associated with your injuries. Examples include:

  • Pain and suffering from the physical injuries
  • Mental and emotional anguish, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Disfigurement or impairment of ability
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life as you did before

Non-economic damages have no absolute monetary value that you can calculate using bills or estimates. However, you can provide evidence of these issues by providing your written statement about how the injuries affected your life. Additionally, your family, friends, co-workers, or anyone close to you can testify to the changes they see in your mental state.

There are a few methods used to assign a dollar amount to pain and suffering. The most common is the multiplier. Your attorney may choose a number between 1.5 and 5 based on precedent and multiply your medical bills by the number to value the non-economic damages. Naturally, the more severe your injuries are, the higher the multiplier.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are rare in most personal injury cases. This type of damages is reserved for cases in which the defendant acted with no evident care for the plaintiff’s safety. For example, the court may award punitive damages in a malpractice case where the doctor failed to remove a tool from the body during surgery or a drunk driver sped through a school zone and injured pedestrians. The purpose of exemplary damages is to punish the defendant and deter that behavior in the future. For this reason, an award of punitive damage is often substantial.

Compensatory Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

In addition to some of the aforementioned economic and non-economic damages, such as medical bills and emotional anguish, wrongful death cases have other compensatory damages. For example, you may seek compensation for the following:

  • Any expenses related to the funeral, burial, or cremation of your loved one
  • Any lost income or benefits if you depended on your loved one
  • Any lost inheritance you would have received
  • Loss of companionship or consortium

The specific damages vary among wrongful death cases depending on several factors, and while nothing can truly replace that loss, the court offers the opportunity to lessen the financial burden.

What Are the Advantages of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You can file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party in your case and represent yourself in negotiations. Such is your legal right. However, before you do, you should consider the advantages of having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Some things an attorney will do for you include:

  • Use their negotiation skills to secure a fair settlement
  • Investigate your accident to search for relevant information
  • Combat bad faith tactics from insurance companies
  • Help you understand the legal process
  • Protect your rights
  • File the required paperwork and ensure there are no delays in your lawsuit
  • Provide access to medical professionals to help you get the support you need

Additionally, most personal injury lawyers work on contingency, meaning they charge nothing to hear your case or represent you. They receive payment when you receive a settlement or award.

If you suffered an injury or lost a loved one in an accident, you can find relief from the resulting financial burden. The personal injury lawyers at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers require no upfront fee to get started on your case. We specialize in fighting for the rights of the injured and stop at nothing to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. The first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee ensures we get paid only after you get paid. There’s No Obligation, Just Information (R).

Jason Stone is truly the best! They did such a wonderful job with my case and communicated really well with me. I was amazed by their work and amazed by how much they really care about their clients. Whenever I called them about a concern or for any other reason they made sure they answered every question! They also try their best to make things go quickly as possible! I would highly recommend people to chose Jason Stone Injury Lawyer. They are honest with you; they take their time to listen to you and make sure everything is resolved! They did a great job with my case that I have recommended them to others. Thanks so much Jason Stone, I really appreciate it all!

VICTORIA PIERRE-LOUIS | FORMER CLIENT