Personal injury law is a broad field, providing a way for people who have been injured by others to recover damages for their injuries. Although the phrase ‘personal injury’ is often used casually on TV or in advertisements, many people are not completely certain what personal injury is, and how a Lindsey personal injury lawyer can help them.
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What Is Personal Injury?
Personal injury law allows anybody who has sustained injuries because of another’s carelessness or negligence to obtain compensation for their injuries. This covers a large and almost endless number of scenarios, but the most common situations that personal injury lawyers handle include:
- Car accidents, which may include cars crashing into each other, as well as cars colliding with pedestrians or bicyclists. It also may include accidents between cars and large commercial trucks
- Falls that are caused when a person or a business creates a dangerous situation on their property. Falls can happen as a result of leaving wet or slippery substances on floors or leaving items in the areas where people walk
- Medical malpractice, which is when a doctor acts carelessly, leading to a patient’s injury, or when a doctor fails to do something that an ordinary doctor in the same or similar situation would have done
- Businesses that fail to provide proper security, leading to criminal activity on their property that injures customers
- Dog bite cases, in which people are injured by someone else’s dog
- Products liability cases, in which businesses or retailers allow products to be sold that are defective and cause harm to customers
- Anybody who fails to take proper measures to ensure the safety of patrons, guests, or customers. Common examples may be a pool area with no safety features, a mechanic who performs faulty maintenance on someone’s car leading to an accident, or a business that fails to equip a stairwell with proper lighting or handles
- Long-term disability claims
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Showing and Proving Fault
In some cases, such as with car accidents, there may be insurance that can provide some benefits for victims, regardless of who caused the accident. However, in many personal injury cases, the victim must demonstrate that the other person or business did something carelessly or negligently, or failed to do something that he or she should have done in the exercise of due care.
Showing negligence in a personal injury case often depends on the relationship between the parties. For example, you may have no obligation to protect a stranger on the street from dangers. However, a daycare, nursing home, hospital or school may have an obligation to keep their patients, students, or all other invitees reasonably safe.
Your Lindsey personal injury lawyer will use a number of tools to show that you were injured by the negligence of someone else. For example, your lawyer may use:
- Witness statements
- Pictures, videos, police reports or maps of the area where you were injured
- Opinions of expert witnesses
- Your own testimony retelling the events that lead to your injury
Damages in Personal Injury Cases
The Lindsey personal injury system allows people who were injured by the negligence of someone else to recover damages. Damages are monetary awards meant to compensate a victim for what he or she has been through. Damages are divided into two main categories — pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Pecuniary damages are damages that can be counted, or which have a “price tag.” They are tangible, quantifiable amounts. Examples of pecuniary damages may be:
- Medical bills
- The cost of prescriptions or medical equipment
- The cost of the care of an attendant
- The estimated cost of any continuing, or ongoing medical treatment that may be needed in the future
- Lost wages
- Loss of the capacity to earn money in the future
Non-pecuniary damages include those damages that do not have a tangible price. However, the law recognizes these damages as real, and a court can award damages for them. Non-pecuniary damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the quality of, or enjoyment of life
- Emotional trauma
- Family members’ claims for loss of companionship
The law limits how much a personal injury victim can recover for non-pecuniary damages. Currently, the limit is close to $400,000.
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Proof of Damages
To demonstrate to a court that you have been injured, your medical records and physician’s testimony will be used in court. This is one reason why it is so important to get medical attention after an accident. Medical attention will not only help you get better, but will also provide documentation of your injuries, their severity, and your improvement, if there is any.
Your testimony, as well as that of anybody close to you who can testify as to how your injuries have affected you, will also be used on your behalf.
A court or insurance company will evaluate this information, and in some cases, will counter your evidence with evidence of their own. The other side may try to say that you are not as injured as you say you are, or that your injuries are not caused by the accident.
These are common tactics that should not worry you as long as you have a Lindsey personal injury lawyer on your side, helping you fight these allegations.
As a general rule, you only have two years after an accident to file a claim or two years after you discover you have a claim. This sounds like a long time, but time can pass very quickly. Remember that your lawyer may need to do an investigation before filing a claim, so you should not wait until the last minute to get qualified legal help.
The Lindsey personal injury lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you if you were injured by the negligence or carelessness of a person, business, or government entity. Call us today to discuss obtaining damages for the injuries that you or a loved one may have sustained.