Accidents that result from someone else’s negligence can lead to serious injuries and sometimes death for the accident victim. The law provides legal rights and options for those who suffer injuries or lose a loved one in a tragic incident, and these victims should recover compensation for their losses from the liable parties.
If you have injuries that resulted from another party’s recklessness or carelessness, you might be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. However, where do you begin? How do you seek the financial recovery you deserve?
The first step is hiring a personal injury lawyer to assess your rights and handle the legal process. This challenging process is difficult for anyone – especially for someone dealing with a serious injury or loss. You always want legal guidance and representation from the start.
But how can you afford a lawyer when you already have a pile of medical bills and are losing income from being out of work? How much does a lawyer cost, and how much money will you need to scrape together to hire the right law firm for your case?
The answer is a reassuring surprise for many people with injuries and losses.
You Need No Money to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Yes, you read that right – you do not need any funds upfront to hire a personal injury lawyer. While business or divorce attorneys might require retainers to begin representation and charge high hourly fees during the case, this is not how personal injury lawyers work.
Personal injury law firms take cases on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means:
- You do not pay any money to hire a lawyer
- The law firm starts working on your case without charging fees
- If there are costs of your claim, the law firm often covers these expenses upfront
- If the lawyer does not obtain compensation for you, they do not receive any fees from you
- If the lawyer wins compensation for you, their fee is a percentage of the total settlement or award
- They take their fees directly from your compensation, so you never have to pay anything from your bank account
This arrangement means that everyone can afford to seek help from a personal injury attorney. Case evaluations are always free, and you never need to come up with money out of your pocket.
Your lawyer will advise how much the fees will be for a successful case, and you must agree to this percentage ahead of time. If you have questions about the fee arrangement, always ask before you sign an agreement. There should be no confusion or surprises regarding how much a lawyer costs.
Start protecting your rights by reaching out for a no-cost consultation with a personal injury attorney today.
What Types of Accidents and Occurrences Can Lead to a Personal Injury Claim?
Numerous accidents and occurrences can lead to a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Some of the most common occurrences that can result in a claim include:
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle collisions
- Motorcycle collisions
- Premises accidents, including slips and falls
- Medical negligence and malpractice
- Defective products
In many instances, these accidents and occurrences happen because someone else is negligent. For example, many motor vehicle accidents occur because a driver violates a traffic law or makes another mistake while on the road, such as drinking and driving.
Other times, accidents happen because premises owners fail to maintain safe properties for their visitors. You may file a claim against the at-fault company or property owner’s insurance company if this happens. If the insurance company refuses to compensate you adequately, you can file a lawsuit in the civil court system.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you determine if you’re eligible to file a personal injury claim arising from your accident. If so, they can assist you throughout the process and work to get you the compensation you need to recover financially for your injuries.
Legal Burden of Proof in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
The accident victim, or the plaintiff, has the legal burden of proof in a personal injury claim. You must establish all of the legal elements of your claim. You must prove it is more likely true than not.
Most personal injury claims and lawsuits arise from negligence. Therefore, the accident victim must demonstrate that the at-fault party owed them a duty of care and violated it. They must also demonstrate the at-fault party’s violation resulted in the accident or occurrence which led to their injuries. Finally, they must establish they suffered at least one personal injury and that their injury resulted from the accident.
Medical testimony is typically necessary to causally relate a particular injury or symptom to an accident that resulted from negligence. In addition to medical experts, your lawyer might need to hire an investigator or accident reconstructionist to piece together exactly how the accident occurred. This is especially true in cases where the insurance company disputes fault for the accident.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you establish all of the legal elements of your claim and, if necessary, retain the experts necessary to satisfy your legal burden.
Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases
Victims of accidents do not have unlimited time to file a lawsuit to seek money damages for their injuries. Each state has a statute of limitations that provides a deadline for lawsuit filings. These statutes of limitations for personal injury cases range from one year to six years, depending on your state.
For example, California has one of the shorter statutes of limitation in the country. Victims of accidents due to someone else’s negligence only have two years from their accident date to file an injury lawsuit. Given this short period, you should always speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
The right law firm can investigate your case and determine if you’re eligible to file a claim. If the statute of limitations period is running short, they can go ahead and file a lawsuit in the court system to protect the statute from running out-and safeguard your rights to monetary compensation for your injuries.
Personal Injuries that Accident Victims May Suffer
For an accident victim to recover monetary compensation in their personal injury case, they must have suffered at least one personal injury that resulted from the accident. The injuries an accident victim might suffer vary widely, depending on the accident, how it occurred, and the force of impact involved.
For instance, in a car accident case, the extent of an accident victim’s injuries will often depend on:
- The speeds of the involved motor vehicles
- The type of motor vehicle collision that occurred
- The movement of the accident victim’s body in the vehicle
- Whether or not a part of the accident victim’s body struck something in the vehicle, like the window, steering wheel, headrest, or door
In a slip and fall accident in a grocery store, restaurant, parking lot, or parking garage, the accident victim’s injuries will often depend on how the accident victim fell to the ground and how they landed.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer include:
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries (including sprains, strains, and muscular contusions)
- Internal injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
If you have suffered any of these injuries in an accident, your first step should be to obtain the medical care and treatment you require. This usually means following up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center for treatment.
At one of those facilities, the healthcare provider can determine the extent of your injuries and administer the necessary imaging studies and other tests, including CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. If you require emergency surgery or another medical procedure, the healthcare provider on duty can ensure that you receive that treatment. Finally, the provider will recommend follow-up medical care if you need it.
In addition to seeking immediate medical treatment following your accident, you also need to follow up with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled legal team can begin gathering your medical bills and records and the other documents pertinent to your case, including the police report, witness statements, and photographs.
They can then assemble these documents into a settlement demand package to send to the necessary insurance companies. They can begin negotiating the case on your behalf and working on getting you the compensation you deserve.
Recovering Monetary Compensation and Damages for Your Personal Injuries
If your lawyer can prove the legal elements of your personal injury claim, you are eligible to obtain various monetary damages in your case. These damages include both economic damages and non-economic damages.
The monetary compensation an accident victim may recover will depend on various factors. Those factors include the nature and extent of the injuries suffered, whether the injuries are permanent, and the cost of the medical treatment needed. Generally speaking, the higher an accident victim’s medical expenses, the more damages that the accident victim can recover.
Permanent injuries can also lead to both past and future pain and suffering. An accident victim who suffers a serious injury might also need to undergo future medical procedures and treatment. A healthcare provider can provide written documentation that estimates future medical costs, including the costs of anticipated ongoing rehabilitation, such as physical therapy.
Potential damages that an accident victim might recover include compensation for medical expenses and loss of earnings. They might also recover compensation for inconvenience, mental distress, past and future pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of spousal companionship and family support.
In some instances, accidents are so serious that they result in an accident victim’s untimely death. When that happens, the accident victim’s surviving relatives or the appointed personal representative of the accident victim’s estate can pursue a wrongful death claim.
As part of a wrongful death claim, the survivors can recover compensation for burial and funeral expenses, as well as for damages between the time of the accident and the accident victim’s death. They can also recover the value of anticipated economic support if they were dependent on the deceased individual for income. Finally, they can claim the loss of future care and companionship of the deceased accident victim.
If you have suffered injuries in an accident that was not your fault or lost a close family member, you have legal options and rights. You want to have a knowledgeable and compassionate personal injury lawyer who can help you file your claim and, if necessary, litigate it in the court system. The right personal injury lawyer will do everything they possibly can to help you maximize the value of your case and the compensation that you ultimately recover from it. They do all of this at no cost upfront.
Contact a Compassionate Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Many victims of serious accidents, including motor vehicle crashes, slip and falls, and pedestrian accidents, are unsure of where they should turn or what they should do next. Unfortunately, concerns about the cost of a lawyer often deter people from seeking the legal help they need.
Without the right lawyer, accident victims often fail to receive total compensation to cover their losses. Some injury victims fail to pursue a claim for compensation simply because they do not know how to start the process. Never risk giving up the money you deserve. Contact a personal injury attorney who is right for your case.
With the right legal representation, people often take more money home for their injuries, even after legal fees. Learn about how you can benefit from a personal injury as soon as possible.