Personal Injury Law: The Basics
Mishaps and accidents can, and do, happen to anyone — but when they happen to you, that’s no consolation, especially if they have caused pain, loss of work, or a serious disability. When you decide to take legal action to protect your rights and receive compensation after an accident either at work or elsewhere, you probably have a lot of questions. It is essential that you consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, but knowing the basics of personal injury law will help you during the process of filing a lawsuit.
Definition of Personal Injury
Personal injury cases are legal disputes, arising from an incident in which one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and another person or party may be held legally responsible for it.
Formal Lawsuit: Criminal cases are initiated by the government, but a formal personal injury case is usually started by a private individual, or plaintiff, who files a civil “complaint” against another party, the defendant, stating that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly. The annual cost of civil lawsuits to the U.S. economy is $239 billion.
Informal Settlement: A lot of the time, disputes of this kind over the fault for an accident or injury are resolved with an informal and early settlement. This type of out-of-court settlement might involve those personally involved in the suit, their insurers, and their lawyers.
Statute of Limitations
Plaintiffs typically have a limited time during which they may file a lawsuit, which is called a “statute of limitations.” It generally begins at the time that the plaintiff was injured or discovered an injury. Statutes of limitations are established state to state, and vary by the type of injury.
The development of many personal injury laws have taken place through court decisions and treatises written by legal scholars. Although some states have taken steps to compile the development of these laws into statutes, most court decisions remain the main source for any legal cases arising after an injury.
In 2013 alone, an estimated 917,100 work-related injuries necessitated some time off work, and medical malpractice lawsuits paid out $3.6 billion in that same year. If you have suffered an injury from negligence or an accident, don’t hesitate to seek compensation.