People who have been injured in an accident or suffered property loss due to an accident can file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for their loss. Depending on the type of accident that occurred, a claim might be filed with the responsible party's insurance company before filing a lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits can be filed in either small claims or civil court.
Personal injury law covers a wide variety of situations that typically fall into one of four main categories: accidents, intentional acts, defective products, or defamation. Personal injury laws are governed by the state, and in many cases, include laws dating back to old common law rules, as well as statute of limitation laws. While personal injury law isn't uniform across the country, most of the old common law rules have been compiled into the Restatement of Torts, which many states use as a guideline for personal injury laws.
Before a personal injury lawsuit reaches open court, settlement talks occur between the plaintiff's personal injury attorney and the attorney for the defense. If the parties can't reach a fair settlement, the plaintiff's attorney files for formal litigation, and the case is heard by a judge. In some cases, especially those where it's difficult to prove fault, the defendant can offer a compromised settlement in order avoid further legal proceedings. However, whether or not the compromised offer is accepted is up to the plaintiff and his or her attorney. It's important to take several things into consideration before accepting any type of settlement, including:
When a person files a personal injury claim, that person is required to prove that the person or business that he or she is suing was negligent, and that negligence resulted in injury or property damage. To prove that the defendant was at fault the plaintiff must provide proof that the defendant:
People can also file personal injury lawsuits in the event that a defective or dangerous product caused an injury or property damage. During a product liability case, the plaintiff must prove that:
Most states' personal liability laws follow the rule of contributory negligence, which means that if the plaintiff's carelessness contributed to the cause of the injury, the plaintiff cannot recover damages from the defendant. In some cases, responsibility is split between multiple parties based on the percentage of fault each party had in the event.
Personal injury attorneys can help you through multiple types of lawsuits, including but not limited to lawsuits and/or claims resulting from: