What are Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Personal injury lawsuits are legal actions that occur from a person suffering harm or injury from the actions of another person or entity such as a business, corporation, or a government agency. In such a lawsuit, the person harmed, or their law firm, (the “plaintiff”) files a complaint with a court against the person or entity that harmed them (the “defendant”) alleging that their harmful actions were irresponsible or careless. Unlike a criminal case, where the government initiates an action against an individual, a personal injury lawsuit is the plaintiff’s attempt at trying to receive some sort of compensation for the harm that the defendant caused them.
The accidents and injuries that can push a plaintiff towards a personal injury lawsuit are wide and varied. Common examples are car accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, and defective drug and medical devices, but there is really no limit to what constitutes a personal injury lawsuit. The only necessary element is that the plaintiff was injured by the defendant’s negligence and irresponsibility. This makes the field of personal injury law varied and applicable in many different aspects of civil law.
Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits & Personal Injury Claims
Car Accident Lawsuits
Car accident lawsuits are some of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. Car accidents happen all the time and one driver’s actions may be more to blame than the other. The nature of car accidents often leads to heavy medical bills, due to injuries and large amounts of property damage costs. Plaintiffs in car accident lawsuits look to the party responsible for compensation for the bills that occur after an accident.
Car accident lawsuits are not limited to just the drivers involved in an accident. Other passengers and pedestrians may also have a claim if they are involved in a car accident because they usually do not bear any responsibility for the damage or injury they incur. Drivers have a duty to follow common rules associated with driving such as basic rules of the road, driving within the speed limit, and paying attention to the road. Furthermore, there are strong rules in every state against driving intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when driving as it can lead to serious accidents. When a driver violates these rules and causes an accident, they will often be liable for the damage incurred by the party injured due to their negligence.
When an individual or personal injury attorney is seeking compensation after a car accident, it is likely that they will also be dealing with an insurance company.
Car accidents often lead to long-term medical injuries, such as severely broken bones or torn muscles. Furthermore, there is usually significant property damage to the car itself and mental anguish to the driver or passengers involved. Often in a car accident lawsuit, plaintiffs are seeking compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering as a result of the accident. A plaintiff might also seek loss of consortium or wrongful death if the accident was lethal. Finally, if the driver responsible for the accident was critically irresponsible, such as driving drunk, a plaintiff might also seek punitive damages for the defendant’s actions.
As with any type of personal injury lawsuit, car accident lawsuits differ from state to state regarding statutes of limitations and types of negligence. Some states look at the actions of both drivers involved in the accident and could reduce or eliminate the negligence of a driver if the court finds a shared responsibility in the accident. This is known as comparative negligence and contributory negligence. If you were involved in a car accident and believe you are owed compensation, it is best you speak to a car accident lawyer to review the necessary steps and actions as soon as possible.
If you, a family member, a friend, or someone you care for has been in an auto accident, call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a legal case review.
Truck Accident Lawsuits
In many ways, truck accident lawsuits are like car accident lawsuits as they involve road accidents between vehicles or pedestrians. The biggest difference is that truck accidents often involve commercial entities and possibly dangerous or hazardous cargo. Since truck drivers are frequently driving on the behalf of a company transporting materials or cargo or working for a trucking company, it is likely that the commercial entity can be brought into the lawsuit as a defendant and found liable for the damages or injuries caused to the plaintiff.
Truck accidents will often have similar causes as car accidents involving normal passenger vehicles. Truck accidents can have other causes as well. Truck drivers are often on the road for long hours as they try to complete shipments across long distances, leading to fatigue and in turn, a higher chance for error. Large semi truck accidents can also be caused by inadequate training with the machinery of the vehicle. For example, many truck drivers need special training in making right turns as the truck needs enough space, usually two lanes, to make the turn successfully. This leads to situations where the driver did not take enough precaution with their turn, either failing and hitting stationary property or possibly other vehicles occupying those lanes.
Semi truck accidents are susceptible to unique accidents known as jackknifing in situations where the road is slick from rain or snow. When a truck improperly brakes in such conditions the tractor and trailer parts of the truck can face different directions and fold together like a pocket knife, causing the driver to lose control and an accident to occur. Truck accidents can be more dangerous than the average car crash if there is dangerous cargo on board as well. Drivers and companies can be found liable for toxic or hazardous material that spills onto the roadway after an accident.
Many of the compensations common to truck accident lawsuits are the same as those that arise from car accident lawsuits. The biggest difference is that most often there are other parties who will be brought into the lawsuit. These third party entities include the employer of the truck driver, the trucking company, or the owner of the cargo onboard the truck. However, the rules involving truck accident lawsuits, especially concerning bringing a company or commercial entity into the lawsuit, can vary from state to state so it is important to speak to an experienced truck accident attorney for advice on how to best move forward with a truck accident claim.
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Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
Another type of vehicular accident lawsuit is a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Though most causes of motorcycle accidents are like car accidents, there are a few unique situations. Due to their size and shape, motorcycles are more susceptible to roadway hazards, such as potholes or debris, hazards that cars and trucks can often easily drive over with little concern. Such hazards can cause the motorcycle to crash itself from simply running into them, but they can also force the motorcyclist to swerve dangerously in an attempt to avoid the object, causing an accident.
In their slim stature, motorcycles might also not be as easily or as quickly recognized in mirrors by other drivers which can lead to an accident, especially during lane switching. Furthermore, because of the motorcycle’s small build, it’s important the machinery is strong and there are no defects, especially when driving at high speeds. Misalignments or manufacturing faults can cause the vehicle to wobble at high speeds, which could lead to a deadly accident. Since these vehicle defects can turn out to be catastrophic, there are often more product liability lawsuits against manufacturers of motorcycles when compared to other vehicle accident lawsuits.
Every state has differing rules regarding motorcyclists’ requirement to wear helmets, which can affect the severity of injuries received and change the liability in a lawsuit. Because of this, compensatory damages can vary, and it is best to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer about how to best proceed with a claim.
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Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits arise when someone dies as a result of a defendant’s wrongful actions, whether intentional or negligent. Wrongful death lawsuits can vary dramatically as they cover a wide range of situations, all of which share the injury of death. The types of compensation involved can include the pain and suffering of the deceased prior to death, the medical costs prior to death, funeral costs, loss of income and value of services, and loss of care, love, and consortium by the deceased’s loved ones.
Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit varies state to state. Unanimously though, a spouse can bring an action on behalf of their deceased spouse. Due to the complex and sensitive nature of a wrongful death claim, if your loved one has passed away due to another party’s wrongful actions, it is best that you speak to an attorney on how best to bring a wrongful death lawsuit forward.
If you, a family member, a friend, or someone you care for has been in a wrongful death accident, call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a legal case review.
Workplace Accident Lawsuits
Workplace injuries are an extremely common type of injury. Usually compensation for these types of accidents are covered by worker’s compensation insurance laws in each state. Because of this, many times people think worker’s compensation is the only route they can take to receive damages for their injury. However, if the employer acted beyond mere negligence or the plaintiff suffered from asbestos related health injuries from their working conditions, further legal action can and should be taken. It’s important to speak with an experienced workplace injury attorney to determine all the damages the injured can receive.
Because of worker’s compensation laws, it is best to file an accident report, consult with a doctor, and speak to an attorney about how best to proceed after a workplace accident occurs.
Call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation on your workplace accident case.
Construction Accident Lawsuits
Construction accident lawsuits often involve accidents occurring from dangerous equipment, equipment or building defects, or undue care. Many of the same rules that apply to workplace accidents also apply to construction accidents when there injuries occur at work. Construction accident lawsuits can also extend to their own unique situations. Because construction jobs often involve subcontractors and different companies working on one project, it is important to be able to document which party is responsible for the exact situation that led to the accident.
Causes of injuries that arise in construction lawsuit accidents include defective equipment, poorly built structures, like scaffolding that isn’t built to standard and then collapses and improperly secured heavy objects. Furthermore, buildings or structures that were built with faulty plans can cause injuries to the general public once the construction is completed. This can be a relatively small issue such as an improper guardrail, but it can also be a much larger issue with the structural integrity of the building. Because of the unique circumstances, construction lawsuits often involve their own exceptional rules, so it is important to speak to a trusted construction accident lawyer before proceeding with such a lawsuit.
Call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation on your construction accident case.
Slip and Fall Lawsuits
Slip and falls are another common type of personal injury accident. Slip and fall accidents can turn into lawsuits when the injured person is able to show that the property owner of the location where the injury occurred failed to recognize or remedy a hazardous condition, such as an uneven walking surface or slippery floor. Usually the success of a slip and fall lawsuit will depend on whether it was reasonable for the defendant to recognize the dangerous condition and if they had an opportunity to fix the condition prior to the accident. For example, if a store owner noticed a leak in their ceiling, didn’t fix it, and didn’t leave any signs warning of a slippery floor, if a patron of the store subsequently slipped on the wet floor, the store owner can be held liable for any injuries the patron sustained.
The elements to slip and fall lawsuits vary significantly between states. This is especially true in determining fault. Depending on certain factors, such as if the injured ignored safety measures or acted haphazardly, some states might find the injured party equally responsible for the accident. It’s also possible for the injured and the defendant to share blame for the accident. If the court finds the injured 25% responsible for his injury, he would then be eligible for 75% of the damages of the full amount he might otherwise have been awarded.
Since each slip and fall lawsuit possesses unique circumstances and differs from state to state, consulting with a top personal injury attorney who specializes in slip and fall cases can make or break your case.
Call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation on your construction accident case.
Dangerous Drug Lawsuits
Every drug released to the public is thoroughly tested and fitted with warning labels of their potential dangers. Producing hazardous medication or failing to properly warn the public regarding the risks of a drug can lead to a drug lawsuit against the manufacturer of the medication. There can be a myriad of physical and mental injuries that occur from drugs that can result in heavy compensation in medical fees, lost wages, pain and suffering, and potentially wrongful death.
Drug lawsuits often involve significant amounts of scientific research as doctors and scientists attempt to figure out the exact causes and parameters behind the injuries caused. Because of significant costs and lengthy lawsuits, drug lawsuits are often filed in large groups in mass tort or class actions against the manufacturers. Speaking to a skilled attorney is integral to helping someone injured by a drug identify if they’re particular circumstances qualify them for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been made sick or injured through use of a dangerous drug, call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation.
Defective Medical Device Lawsuits
Medical devices and surgical instruments can be dangerous or faulty to the point that they cause unforeseen injury or death to a patient. In such circumstances, a patient can pursue a defective medical device lawsuit against the manufacturer of the device since they created a danger to the patient that should have been foreseen and prevented. For example, many patients who underwent hip replacement surgery and were fitted with certain metal hip implants from manufacturers like DePuy, Stryker and Biomet, subsequently endured severe injuries, leading to lawsuits against the manufacturer of the implant for their injuries.
Much like drug lawsuits, defective medical device lawsuits cover a wide range of injuries and devices. It is best to speak to an attorney specializing in the field to determine if your injuries sustained from a defective medical device qualify for a lawsuit. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as the injury begins to ensure a lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations.
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Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Every doctor owes patients a certain duty of care when examining or treating them in any capacity. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse or any medical professional causes injury to a patient through a negligent act, failure to act, or substantial substandard care. In medical malpractice cases, it might be difficult to discern the particular damages created by a doctor’s actions, as there are inherent risks associated with most surgeries and medical procedures. Sometimes a doctor’s negligence is obvious, like in a situation where a doctor makes an incorrect amputation, clearly unnecessarily and negligently harming their patient. Most situations aren’t as black and white, and require an especially skilled attorney and medical experts to examine the case in order to determine if there indeed was negligence, and what damages can possibly be awarded.
If you or a family member has been made sick or injured through medical malpractice, call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation.
Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits
A traumatic brain injury can occur in a variety of accidents, ranging from slip and falls, vehicular accidents, medical malpractice, and others. Traumatic brain injury lawsuits are usually included as a part of another lawsuit as they describe the injury incurred rather than the accident. Traumatic brain injury lawsuits mainly differ when analyzing the damages in a case. As brain injuries can vary greatly from person to person and accident to accident, these types of lawsuits involve the use of experts to properly analyze damages.
Consulting with a specialized brain injury attorney regarding a traumatic brain injury lawsuit is an integral step in building and pursuing a case. Because brain injuries are complex, brain injury experts are necessary to evaluate the costs and damages involved with such a lawsuit. For example, if a car accident causes a traumatic brain injury, experts will be needed to properly formulate whether the injury will be long-term and catastrophic or short-term and recoverable. Experts will be able to analyze future medical costs and other possible losses involving necessary changes in lifestyle. Experts are imperative to properly display to the court the ways in which the injury has affected the plaintiff’s life and is integral to proving who is at fault for the traumatic brain injury.
If someone you love is dealing with a traumatic brain injury caused through negligence, call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation.
Dog Bite Injury Lawsuits
Dog owners owe a duty of care to others to ensure their dogs are properly leashed and trained to not bite without provocation. This liability can change drastically depending on the state in which the bite occurs and other factors, including the injured party trespassing or acting in a provoking nature. Basic laws and regulations regarding dog ownership and leashes will hold owners liable when the injured person acted normally and peacefully prior to the injury. For example, it is unlikely that a victim would have a viable dog bite injury case if they were trespassing on someone’s property when they were bitten, even if they were acting peacefully and using a path on the dog owners property as a shortcut with no ill intentions. However, if the injured party was simply walking through a public park when the dog bit them, the injured would have a case against the dog owner.
Because of the different regulations across states and the varied injuries that can result from a dog bite it is important to speak to a dog bite attorney who can properly assess your case. A doctor should also be consulted to properly analyze the extent of the damage done by the dog bite. There can also be psychological issues and loss of earnings as a result of a dog bite that can play a role when analyzing damages in a case.
If you or a family member has been injured through a dog bite, call our local support staff at 866-465-1419 or fill out the form for a free consultation.
Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case
Generally, personal injury lawsuits are a plaintiff’s attempt to obtain compensation for injuries and damages incurred due to the defendant’s irresponsibility or lack of care. There are two basic categories of damages: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are available in almost all personal injury lawsuits. Their purpose is to reimburse or compensate the injured for the damage they incurred.
- medical bills
- loss of earnings
- loss of future earnings
- cost of future medical care
- costs of household expenses related to injury
- costs associated with cancelled trips or altered plans
These types of compensations are found in most personal injury lawsuits as they cover the costs most directly associated with the negligent actions of the defendant.
Personal injury lawsuits can also have more specialized types of compensatory damages. Injuries can leave the plaintiff in a state of mental disarray that can impact their lives on various scales. In circumstances where the injury was fatal, a spouse can pursue damages for this loss since they can no longer be with their loved one.
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
Punitive damages, or exemplary damages, are unlike compensatory damages as they are not designed to compensate the victim for the damages and injuries incurred. Punitive damages occur when the defendant’s actions were so careless and so overtly abhorrent that a jury finds they are to pay more in damages as punishment for their actions. States handle punitive damages differently between themselves and in different types of cases. Each state usually creates a cap of how high punitive damages can reach for any given type of accident.
Punitive damages are often the result of an injury that occurred when the defendant acted in gross negligence. They can also be a result of intentional harm rather than mere negligence. An example of a situation that might create a basis for punitive damages is if an underage or untrained person was knowingly allowed to operate a dangerous vehicle by their employer or parent. The employer or parent would likely be held for punitive damages. Another situation can be found in circumstances where the person injured was disabled or otherwise defenseless, while they were in the care of another professional. By taking advantage of the injured person’s vulnerability, the defendant would likely be held responsible for punitive damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
Wrongful death damages are associated with personal injury lawsuits in that which the negligence of the defendant resulted in the death of the plaintiff.
- Funeral and Burial expenses
- Loss of services and support
- Loss of financial contribution
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Emotional distress of loved ones
- Medical care costs – pre-death
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
How do I Know if I Should Pursue a Personal Injury Claim?
If you were an innocent victim in an accident that occurred due to another’s carelessness or negligence, then you likely have a personal injury claim and may be eligible to file a lawsuit. The injury must have resulted in real costs, such as medical costs or property damage, and must have been directly caused by the defendant’s actions.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?
Personal injury lawsuits vary in time depending on the nature of the case. Personal injury lawsuits may take a long time, possibly lasting a year or two after being filed. This process can take even longer if multiple appeals are made to different levels of the court system. Despite this, most personal injury lawsuits end earlier in settlement negotiations between the parties.
How do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
To file a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you collect evidence of the accident through pictures and documentation. Depending on the circumstances, it may be imperative to speak to a police officer or your employer in the case of a workplace accident to ensure a proper accident report was filed. A doctor should also be consulted to evaluate the injuries incurred and their causes. Armed with this information, a personal injury attorney can guide you through the legal system and how to properly give notice to the defendant in your case. An attorney should be consulted as soon as possible to ensure the suit is not barred by the time restrictions created by each state’s statute of limitations.
Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer
How we can help
The Law Center specializes in connecting the sick or injured with an attorney that can help them or their family through a personal injury lawsuit, and be made whole again. Every personal injury claim is different and it takes the care of a trained legal professional to properly assess. The Law Center has a national network of premier personal injury attorneys who have recovered billions of dollars for victims and their families.
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