The Basics of Personal Injury Law

Personal injury is a massive area of law, encompassing civil damages for everything from car accidents to medical malpractice. However, the general public also has many misconceptions about it. People believe that those who file personal injury claims are exploiting a minor injury for massive compensation and that personal injury claims are widely misused, while victims actually have to go through many steps to get compensation.

Keep reading for an overview of the personal injury process and the different parties involved in these cases.

What Types of Accidents Are Included in Personal Injury?

Personal injury is a complex area of law that covers many types of accidents and injuries. Types of accidents that could call for a personal injury claim include:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Animal bites and attacks
  • Slips and falls on public, private, or residential property
  • Injuries caused by defective products
  • Intentional assault
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Wrongful death

Essentially, any injury that occurs because of someone else’s negligence or malice could result in a personal injury claim. This is separate from the criminal justice process; this type of case seeks justice through a civil suit resulting in financial compensation for the victim.

The Role of Insurance in Personal Injury

In many cases, insurance companies have a prominent role in personal injury cases. In almost every type of personal injury case, the defendant is backed by a relevant insurance policy. In a claim related to a vehicle accident, the liable party’s car insurance company plays a role. In a slip and fall accident, the homeowner’s or commercial insurance company steps in. In a dog bite case, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance should be involved.

The insurance company represents the liable party during the settlement process. Their goal is to prevent legal action by paying a settlement that is less than what they could be forced to pay in court.

The Role of the Court in Personal Injury Law

Few personal injury cases make it to the courtroom, but the court is still an important part of the process. If a case is filed and is not settled prior to the court date, the judge and jury hear both sides of the case. They determine whether or not the offending party was truly liable, and if so, how much they must pay to the victim.

The Personal Injury Process

After you have sustained an injury, you begin the personal injury claim process. It is recommended that you contact an attorney as soon as possible, since any delay can result in the loss of evidence needed to secure your compensation. The same steps are followed in almost every personal injury case:

  • The victim seeks medical care and begins gathering evidence for a personal injury case, including medical records, photos, video evidence, and witness contact information. They reach out to an attorney after their injuries.
  • The victim’s attorney begins investigating the accident and creates a paper trail of receipts, medical bills, medical reports, and other types of documentation that they will need to prove their client’s injuries. With this, they will come up with an amount that they believe their client deserves for their injuries.
  • With an amount in mind, the attorney will draft a settlement proposal that they will take to the insurance company. The insurance company very rarely accepts this amount and counteroffers with their own amount.
  • Negotiations continue. In most situations, both parties compromise and come to a mutually agreeable number. Everyone involved signs paperwork agreeing to the amount and waiving the right to future lawsuits related to the incident. A payment amount and plan is agreed upon and documented.
  • If negotiations are unsuccessful, the victim’s attorney files a lawsuit and prepares for court. In many cases, a settlement still occurs between initial court filings and the court date. If not, the case goes to court. Both parties make their case and the court decides in one party’s favor.
  • If the victim is awarded compensation, either through a settlement or a court award, attorney fees and other expenses will be deducted from the total amount. The victim receives the remaining funds.

Turn to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. for Experienced Representation

The personal injury claim process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially if you’re in the middle of trying to heal from a serious injury. That’s where we step in to help. The team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. represents victims and fights hard to secure the compensation they deserve. To set up a consultation now, call us at 251-260-3815 or reach out to us online.

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