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If you suffered injuries or damages due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation. Understanding the basics of a personal injury lawsuit can help you ensure your legal rights are protected and help you determine your next steps. The following are the most commonly asked questions and answers regarding personal injury cases.
Personal injury cases cover a wide range of accidents; however, all of them require that one person (or company) acted negligently, which directly led to a victim’s injuries or caused the victim to suffer damages. Some of the more common types of personal injury cases include the following:
This list is not exhaustive, and even rarer accidents such as boating or ATV accidents would be covered under personal injury law. If you were injured in any way due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to file a claim to receive compensation for your damages and injuries.
If you suffered injuries or property damage due to someone else’s negligence, you may be facing astronomical medical debts. You also may be unable to return to work due to your injuries, leaving you with lost wages. Rising medical bills and the loss of wages can make a victim feel even more frustrated and overwhelmed following a serious accident. Additionally, you may have pain and suffering stemming from your physical or emotional injuries.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit empowers the victim of a personal injury accident that suffered injuries through no fault of their own the ability to receive compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, loss of future wages, and pain and suffering. Filing a personal injury lawsuit protects your legal rights as well as holds wrongdoers accountable when they harm others either intentionally or through negligent acts.
If you make the decision to move forward with a personal injury case to protect your legal rights and receive the compensation you deserve, working with our experienced personal injury attorneys will help ensure that you build a strong personal injury case. While personal injury cases are oftentimes legally complex, there are typically four elements and criteria required to prove this type of a case in a court of law.
Visiting with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately following your accident can help you determine your next best steps, and if your case meets the criteria for a personal injury case under the law.
If you suffered injuries following any kind of accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should make sure to follow these steps:
Even though they are all unique and different, most personal injury lawsuits broadly follow a similar pattern.
Every case is different, and the unique facts and circumstances of the case will establish how much a victim may receive in a personal injury case. For example, if you have some medical bills and were unable to work for a month, your damages will be different than someone who has a permanent disability and will never be able to work again. Your attorney can help you determine how much your personal injury case is worth, and how much you can expect to receive.
You may have the right to receive several different types of damages, including the following:
It costs nothing to hire a personal injury attorney. If you are facing accumulating medical bills along with an inability to return to work, you may feel you cannot afford a personal injury attorney to negotiate with insurance companies or file a lawsuit on your behalf. However, you do not need a dime to hire a personal injury attorney.
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. A contingency fee is when a personal injury attorney agrees to represent you, build your case, and file your lawsuit without receiving any compensation unless and until they win your case. If you lose your case, you will owe the personal injury attorney nothing. If you win, the personal injury attorney will take an agreed-upon percentage from that compensation awarded. Sometimes, personal injury attorneys are called “no win, no fee” attorneys because they will only be paid if they win your case on your behalf.
To have a good working relationship, and to ensure that a strong personal injury case is built, a client must always be honest and assist the attorney as much as possible. Responding to requests quickly and providing evidence and documentation in a reasonable amount of time will help the attorney do their job more effectively.
Your attorney should always consult you regarding your case, and explain how the law applies in your specific situation. They should handle all negotiations with the insurance company or other attorneys. They should handle all paperwork, gather evidence, develop a strong legal strategy upon which you can win your case, and argue your case in court if a lawsuit is required. They exist to represent you and ensure your legal rights are always protected.
If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage with your auto policy, then you can use that to seek compensation for your damages. Uninsured and underinsured coverage are optional in Arkansas, but your agent must have offered it to you. With an uninsured claim, your own insurer becomes your adversary and your car accident lawyer still has to prove that the uninsured driver negligently caused the accident and that you suffered injuries and other damages.
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You pay nothing out-of-pocket. Personal injury cases are taken by lawyers on a contingency basis, or a percentage of the gross settlement or award that is spelled out in our written contingency agreement with you. If we recover nothing, then you pay nothing. In complex injury cases, attorneys will usually ask for a higher percentage because the case will require much more expense, resources, work and skills. Also, in some cases the percentage is determined by statute or state law.
It depends on the degree of liability of the other party, your own conduct, how serious your injuries are, how they affect your life, your ability to work and earn an income, the reasonableness of your medical care and costs, and if your injury will be permanent, among many other factors that are considered in evaluating a claim. Of course, what insurance is available is also a consideration. No two cases are exactly alike, and no attorney can or should guarantee that you will receive a certain amount.
You are entitled to economic or special damages that include your medical expenses, property damage, and income loss. You can also collect general or non-economic damages for your pain and suffering against the responsible party, and for how your injuries have diminished your enjoyment of life. Emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, embarrassment over scarring or disfigurement, insomnia, development of an addiction to pain medication, and other trauma are also part of your damages. If the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, malicious, or grossly negligent, you could be awarded punitive damages as well.
Few injury claims are clear-cut as to who is at fault, and there may be other parties who were responsible. But even if another party admits liability, you can harm your case by talking to adjusters and investigators and unknowingly making comments that could place some fault on yourself or that minimizes your injuries. There are also issues about the extent or seriousness of your injuries and proof of your damages that insurance companies will question and challenge. There are many factors that insurance companies consider when handling and evaluating claims. Your Green & Gillispie injury lawyer is trained and experienced in these issues and in how to deal with and negotiate with insurance companies.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer who will review the facts of your case and the applicable laws. Usually, if someone or a company acted carelessly or even intentionally in causing your injuries, you can bring a claim against that person or business personally or depending on the nature of the accident, against that party’s auto policy, homeowner’s policy, commercial liability insurance, or the person’s employer if they were on the job at the time. There may be other insurance policies that apply as well.
In Arkansas, you generally have 3-years from the date of injury or when you discovered or should have discovered your injury. Persons under 18 when injured generally have 3-years after they turn 18 to file a claim. In some complex cases, you may not realize what caused your injuries until years later but may still bring a claim under some circumstances. Keep in mind that some causes of action, such as intentional torts like assault and battery, only provide a 1-year statute of limitations.
Yes, you are entitled to be compensated based on the degree to which your injury was aggravated by the accident. If it was aggravated by a substantial degree that necessitated surgery, for example, your claim could be significant, though your settlement or award might still be dependent on other factors.
You cannot sue your employer in Arkansas, but you could bring a personal injury claim against an outside contractor or other third–party. If you were driving a company car and another driver caused your accident, you can sue that party. If you were injured by a defective machine or piece of equipment, or by being exposed to toxins at your workplace, you could bring a product liability action against the designer, manufacturer or marketer of the product. Workers’ compensation, though, may have a lien or claim against whatever proceeds you collect in a third-party claim.
You can still collect compensation so long as your own degree of fault is less than 50%. If you are equally or 50% at fault for an accident, you cannot collect anything. Your damages are also reduced by your percentage of fault, so if you have $100,000 in damages but were 40% at fault, you would collect $60,000.
Slips and falls are common in the workplace, but they can sometimes lead to serious injury. Repetitive motion injuries also occur frequently, but are often overlooked.
Anyone who has been injured in an accident is likely to experience many difficulties they have perhaps never experienced before, including high medical bills, lost wages because they can’t go.
Never accept a settlement offer before at least having a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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