Getting injured or being involved in an accident can be a traumatic experience especially if you’re not at fault. At some point after your recovery, you have to deal with a personal injury claim. While the process is not exactly exciting, you need to know how the process works to get a fair case. Here are five things that you should know about personal injury laws before moving forward with your claim.
1. Different Situations Where Personal Injury Rules Apply
Personal injury rules apply in different situations including accidents, intentional acts, defective products, and defamation. Personal injury law applies to accidents when someone acts carelessly or negligently that caused harm to another person. Some examples of an accident include dropping of a hot coffee on someone’s arm, a slip and fall incident, car accident, and so on. Compared to accidents, intentional acts are situations when a person’s intentional demeanor causes harm to another person. An example of a deliberate act would be assault, hitting a car knowingly, and so on. Personal injury rules also apply to product liability claims caused by a defective product. Defamation is also a reason to claim personal injury when a person’s defamatory statement harm another person’s reputation.
2. General Procedure of a Personal Injury Case
While personal injury cases may vary from one situation to another, there is a general procedure that applies. It starts when a defendant does something to injure the plaintiff. As mentioned in the first item, the injury can be an accident, intentional, a product liability, or defamatory. Then, the plaintiff will decide if the defendant has breached a legal duty. The legal duty will depend on the situation. Once a breach has been established, both parties engage in settlement talks. The settlement involves offering monetary compensation to the plaintiff in exchange for not filing a lawsuit against the defendant. If the plaintiff does not agree to a settlement, then he or she may go to court and file an official personal injury lawsuit.
3. Formal Lawsuit Vs. Informal Settlement
Following the second point, it is essential to understand the difference between a formal lawsuit and an informal settlement before deciding on how to resolve the matter. A formal lawsuit is done when the plaintiff (a private individual) files a civil complaint against the defendant (a person, business, or government agency) for allegedly acting in negligence that caused harm to the first person. On the other hand, an informal settlement does not require filing a lawsuit. Instead, the people involved in the dispute including the attorneys and insurance company enter a negotiation that eventually leads to a written agreement to forgo a formal lawsuit through payment.
4. Working with an Injury Lawyer
If an injury happens to you caused by someone else, you can consult a lawyer who will give you advice and information about your legal options. Some situations may be too complicated for you to handle especially if the other party is a company or a government agency. It can also get confusing when the resolution involves other parties such as insurance companies.
5. Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations pertains to the time in which the plaintiff can file a lawsuit. The state law decides the statutes of limitation which may vary from the type of injury. The statute of limitation may be as short as two years or can take up to five years depending on the case and the state.