Personal Injury Law: The Law and Your Claim
The society in which we live in today is governed by a set of rules and none moreso than in personal injury law claims. These rules ensure that the society functions and is run in an orderly manner. It also ensures that defaulters are given the appropriate punishment befitting their misbehavior. These punishments also serve as a deterrent to others to not follow in the footstep of law breakers.
Again, the law is not just about punitive measures, it is also about redress. This means that individuals or organizations that have been wronged or suffered loss as a result of the action or inaction of another individual or organization can seek redress through the system. So, as can be seen, the law is for everyone.
Every personal injury case is different, but there remain some key steps that anyone facing a personal injury claim can expect to encounter when filing a lawsuit.
Obviously, the initial first step is to ascertain the nature and scope of any injury and to establish proof of what has occurred sufficient to mount a lawsuit (or defend one if you are sued).
A consultation with an attorney will determine whether there is a local small claims court limit applying (which may go up to $10,000 depending upon the jurisdiction) or what the chances of success might be for a major claim. This involves an exploratory discussion and investigation of the proposed lawsuit, the question of whether the defendant is insured or has assets that will permit recovery should the lawsuit succeed and also of course the suitable fee arrangement for the attorney.
The Law Generally
Generally, there are various aspects of law as is practiced in the country and in many jurisdictions around the world. However, there are two broad categorizations of law involving legal actions, they are:
- Criminal Law: This deals with offences against the state which are known as crimes. Those found guilty of offences under this categorization are regarded as criminals and are punished by the state.
- Civil Law: This is also known as the law of torts and simply refers to or deals with offences against the individual. It is an avenue for an individual or an organization, who feels wrong by another to seek redress. You can read more about it here.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims fall under the civil or torts law category. It deals with wrongs done to a person and seeks to address and compensate that wrong. Also note that there is a difference between personal injury claims and bodily injury claims are sometimes used interchangeably by laymen, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. Although claims involving bodily injury claims are specific to injuries to the body, personal injury claims are wider in scope as it includes injuries to the body, defamation of character and even being a victim of social wrongs.
The defendant will in most cases have a month or so to find an attorney before the first court date and if there are sufficient assets and/or insurance then finding a personal injury attorney will not be difficult. However, the investigation phase in terms of determining the merits of the particular case will involve considerable expertise for significant personal injury lawsuits and require an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Burden Of Proof In Personal Injury Claims
For a personal injury claim to succeed, it has to be proven by the claimant that the respondent was wholly or partly liable. Without establishing liability on the part of the respondent, the claimant has no case. Thus the burden of proof lies on the claimant to establish negligence on the part of the respondent. To proof negligence, the claimant has to establish:
- That the respondent owed a duty of care
- That the respondent was in negligent breach and did not live up to that duty of care
- That the negligent breach of care by the respondent is directly responsible for the harm that you suffered
- And that you have suffered damages as a result of that harm.
You are said to have successfully proven your case upon establishing the above listed conditions in court. You can find out more at https://www.findlaw.com/injury/accident-injury-law/proving-fault-what-is-negligence.html#
Types Of Personal Injury Cases
This is the most common source of most of these cases and applications in court as millions of people are involved in motor vehicle accidents yearly. When these situations occur, one may be entitled to a recompense for the harm suffered.
These comes as a result of harm that befall an individual due to the negligence of a medical personnel be it a doctor, nurse or other members of the medical staff. Medical malpractice are of different types including surgical errors, wrong diagnosis and treatment, pharmaceutical and medication errors and errors committed in the process of child delivery. Due to the technicality of cases like this, one would usually need the services of an attorney who specializes in cases of medical malpractice.
As can be guessed from the name, this is a lawsuit that arises when the negligence of an individual or organization has resulted in the death of a person. There are many situations that might result in this occurrence starting from motor vehicle accidents to medical malpractice to deaths caused by defective products and so on.
The damages recovered in these instances are different from those recovered in cases where the accidents or occurrences are not fatal. It is the personal representatives of the deceased that come to claim on the deceased’s behalf.
Work Place Accident
A work place accident occurs when a worker or an employee is injured at the place of work. Generally, it is expected that the employer provides certain benefits to their workers who get injured in this manner. However, a worker who feels that the compensation was inadequate and can establish that fact can still bring an action in court so as to be properly indemnified.
This is the liability of the owner of a property if there is an accident that occurs as a result of a defect in the property (the property is land in many instances). Where this occurs, the owner of the land or property shall be liable and the victim shall have a claim in court.
Things to Note When Pursuing A Personal Injury Claim
The Importance of Jurisdiction
Most personal injury cases are typically brought to a state court since such issues fall within their jurisdiction. For this reason, you as a claimant need to have an attorney from within the state that is conversant with the provisions of the laws of the state. This is important because, the provisions of the law may differ from state to state. Thus, as Spartanburg residents, engaging an attorney from within the jurisdiction is the smart choice to make.
Get a Specialist Attorney in Personal Injury Claims
It is important that you engage the services of an attorney or a firm who specializes in personal injury claims. There are a wide variety of personal injury law firms in every State and often with wide ranging experience in difference areas of activity. Our firm, at Cummings and Lewis LLC handles work in North Carolina and elsewhere, with experience across multiple areas of personal injury from workplace accidents to auto accidents. One of the key factors that the firm places emphasis on is to ensure there is complete and transparent communication with clients so that they fully understand what is happening and that the communication comes from an experienced attorney, rather than paralegals.
Using law firms with experience and top communication practices, whatever the injury and wherever the firm is located, is one of the keys to achieving a successful outcome in any personal injury lawsuit and that can and should take some time for prospective litigants to spend time investigating, interviewing and satisfying themselves about.
There really is no measure that can be taken to ensure that accidents do not occur. What can be done is to institute measures in place to reduce the possibility of such an occurrence.
However, accidents still do occur and people do suffer harm from such occurrences and any redress will depend upon effective representation from a personal injury law firm that has experience in handling such claims.
Source: Cummings & Lewis, a personal injury law firm based in Spartanburg, NC