What is a personal injury?
The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, on a cruise ship, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents. The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents
Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. Most personal injury attorneys represent clients on a “contingent fee basis” in which the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the plaintiff’s eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful. Typically, a Plaintiff’s attorney charges 1/3 of the proceeds recovered if a case is settled out of court or 40 percent if the matter proceeds to trial.
What types of damages are available?
Damages are categorized as either special or general. In torts, special damages are measurable costs which can be itemized such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and property damages whereas general damages include less measurable costs such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, the effects of defamation, and emotional distress. Personal injury torts result in both special and general damages.
What must the injured party prove?
Four things must be proven in order to hold a party or parties legally liable for injuries so damages can be awarded:
- The party had a duty to act reasonably according to the circumstances.
- The party breached the duty.
- The party’s breach of the duty caused you to be harmed.
- You suffered monetary damages due to the harm you suffered when the party breached its duty of care.
The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries (such as broken bones, severed limbs, brain damage) that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements.
Aside from compensation for injuries, the injured person may get compensated for the lifetime effect of the injuries. This is called loss of enjoyment of life and is compensable. Additionally, lost earning capacity (Future ability to learn) and future reasonably necessary medical expenses are recoverable.
In some cases, the injured might run his or her own businesses. The quantum assessment of the loss of profits (dividing into pre-trial and post-trial) requires forensic accounting expertise because the forensic accountant would consider various scenarios and adopt the best estimate based on the available objective data.
What time limitations apply?
In the United States, each state has different statutes of limitations – laws that determine how much time you have to file a claim. Different types of injuries may have different statutes of limitations as well. California has a two year statute of limitations for personal injuries. It is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible in order to best manage your case and maximize your recovery. Call us today.