Personal injury claims are lawsuits filed by individuals who have suffered injuries due to the negligent or careless actions of other people. They are a formal process of pursuing compensation from the at-fault parties. Most personal injury claims can be filed using a contingency fee arrangement. In this arrangement, there are no upfront fees and claimants don’t pay attorney fees if their claims are unsuccessful. Before pursuing personal injury claims, having a clear understanding of what these claims entail is helpful.
Not all Injuries Amount to Actionable Claims
An injury sustained in an accident or action doesn’t automatically result in an actionable claim. Legal grounds that make a defendant liable must exist for an injured person to recover damages in a personal injury claim. Negligence is the most common legal concept associated with personal injury claims. This involves demonstrating that the defendant had a duty of care towards the injured victim.
If the victim was a driver on a highway, for instance, the other driver has a duty to drive safely. With the help of his or her lawyer, the victim must show that the defendant violated this legal duty. The defendant may have, for example, failed to perform adequate evasive action. The victim must also demonstrate that he or she sustained injuries because the defendant violated the legal duty.
There are Several Different Categories of Personal Injury Claims
Many people think the term “personal injury” is synonymous with making car accident claims. Although car accidents are one category of personal injury claims, there are several others, such as injuries caused by premises liability, battery, medical malpractice, animal attacks, and any other event whereby a person is injured or harmed because of someone else’s negligence.
Insurance Companies are Often Part of Personal Injury Claims
Insurance companies are often involved in personal injury claims that involve medical malpractice, car accidents, and accidents that happen in private properties or businesses. Insurance companies focus on safeguarding their financial interests. Consequently, insurance companies tend to make settlement offers that are unfair to the injured victims because they are trying to minimize their financial exposure.
The Victim May Pursue a Claim Even if He or She was Partially Liable
Many states in the U.S. use a comparative negligence model that enables a person injured in a crash to make a personal injury claim even if he or she was partially liable for the crash. In such cases, the victim’s compensation is lowered by the amount of liability that he or she contributed to the crash. If the victim incurred damages of $300,000 and was 20% liable, then his or her maximum compensation would be $240,000 because he or she was liable for $60,000 of the damages.
Most Personal Injury Cases are Resolved through out-of-court Settlements
Many personal injury claims are resolved through out-of-court settlements. In this arrangement, the victim through his or her lawyer negotiates a financial settlement with either the defendant or insurance company. The power of accepting or failing to accept a proposed settlement lies with the victim. If the victim fails to accept the settlement, the case may proceed to trial.