Personal Injury

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.

What Are the Most Common Types of 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:

  • Car accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Texting and driving accidents
  • Uninsured automobile accidents
  • Uber and other ridesharing accidents
  • Medical malpractice including birth injuries or vaccine injuries
  • Medication and pharmaceutical errors
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Wrongful death
  • Products liability
  • Nursing home negligence and abuse
  • Negligent security
  • Insurance Disputes
  • Slip and fall accidents (Premises liability)
  • Dog bites
  • Workers’ compensation claims

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.

Why Should I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

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.

How Do I Build a Strong Personal Injury Case?

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.

  1. Duty. The liable party (either a private individual or a company) generally has a duty to use reasonable care not to cause an injury to another party or even a duty to protect. In all personal injury cases, a victim was harmed by a person or entity that was either negligent, careless, or reckless. For example, a doctor has a duty to provide care to a patient established by accepted medical guidelines. If a doctor fails in that duty, they have committed medical malpractice. If a motorist fails to operate their vehicle in a safe manner, a victim has the right to bring a personal injury case regarding any injuries suffered. If a business owner fails to secure their property against hazardous or dangerous conditions, a victim may bring a premises liability claim against them.
  2. Breach. In order to prove a personal injury case, a victim (plaintiff) must prove that the liable party breached their duty to the victim by either acting or failing to act with the reasonable care and prudence that a person in the same or similar situation would have done.
  3. Causation. The victim must prove that their injuries were created as a result of the liable party’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness.
  4. Damages. The victim must have suffered actual physical, emotional, or financial damages as a direct result of the breach of duty. The damages suffered might include physical injury, emotional or psychological injury, or some form of financial harm.

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.

What Should I Do Following an Accident?

If you suffered injuries following any kind of accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should make sure to follow these steps:

  • Contact the police, and have them file an official police report
  • Attempt to photograph the accident if possible, or obtain any evidence that would be relevant to the accident
  • If you were injured in a shop or on someone else’s property, make sure to alert the property owner of your injury
  • Obtain the contact information of anyone else involved in the accident, or any witnesses, if appropriate
  • Seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel that your injuries are minor, oftentimes serious injuries occur due to an accident that are not immediately felt by the victim. Seeking immediate medical attention via ambulance, emergency room, and/or your primary care doctor will ensure that you receive the best medical care, as well as help establish that you were truly injured for any future legal claim you may wish to pursue.
  • Contact your insurance company to alert them that an accident has occurred.
  • Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at Green & Gillispie to help you negotiate with your insurance company and help you build a strong personal injury case.

Suffered an Injury from Someone Else's Negligence?

What Are the Steps of a Personal Injury Case?

Even though they are all unique and different, most personal injury lawsuits broadly follow a similar pattern.

  • Visit with an Attorney. Your very first step will be meeting with an experienced personal injury attorney. This visit is at no cost to you, and you can explain the circumstances surrounding the accident, ask questions, and find out more about how your attorney will proceed with your case.
  • Build a Strong Personal Injury Case. Oftentimes, personal injury cases can be quite complex. In some instances, a personal injury attorney will conduct an independent investigation of the accident to determine liability and negligence. Oftentimes, an expert witness will be needed to substantiate certain pieces of evidence. Expert witnesses can be physicians, accident reconstruction specialists, or experts in the manufacturing process. Depending on your specific personal injury case, your attorney will help you develop and build a strong claim.
  • Insurance Company Negotiations. Following the development of a strong personal injury case (which may take several months), your attorney will begin negotiations with the liable party’s insurance company regarding a settlement, which is the compensation they will pay for your injuries. It is important that, as a victim, you do not provide insurance companies with all of your medical records, but only those that pertain to the accident. Additionally, you should never offer more information than requested, never allow yourself to be recorded during a conversation, or make “small talk” in which you might inadvertently indicate that you are now “feeling fine.” Insurance companies are skilled in their attempts at manipulation and may offer low settlement offers, send checks they hope the victim cashes (which would prevent a victim from filing a lawsuit) or use delaying tactics to attempt to make a victim miss legal deadlines and the ability to file a lawsuit. Allowing your personal injury attorney to negotiate on your behalf will ensure that you never miss a deadline and that you receive the highest amount of compensation possible for your personal injury case.
  • File a Lawsuit. If the negotiations with an insurance company fail, and they refuse to offer you a reasonable settlement, your attorney will file a lawsuit. Lawsuits often take a considerable amount of time. There will be a discovery period in which both sides will provide evidence to the other side and possibly engage in additional negotiations or mediations that may result in an acceptable settlement offer.
  • Trial. However, if the negotiations and mediations are unsuccessful, the lawsuit will go to jury trial. Witnesses will testify and evidence will be presented to a jury of your peers. Ultimately, and assuming settlement is not reached during the trial process, the jury will make a determination regarding the compensation you should receive.

How Much Money Is My Personal Injury Lawsuit Worth?

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:

  • Medical Bills. Medical bills may include emergency room visits, surgeries, doctor’s visits, physical therapy, in-home care, medical assistance devices such as wheelchairs or walkers, or prescriptions. Medical bills may also relate to emotional or psychological injuries from post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental injuries suffered. Any therapist bills or medications associated with these medical conditions may also be pursued in a personal injury claim.
  • Lost Wages. If you were unable to return to work as you recovered from an injury, you may have suffered considerable loss of wages. Additionally, if your injury is expected to continue, you may have the ability to receive loss of future wages as well.
  • Noneconomic damages. If you received any physical or emotional injuries, you will likely also have pain and suffering associated with those injuries. Also, if your quality of life was damaged in any way due to permanent disability or paralysis or some other life-altering condition, you will have the right to seek damages with respect to your loss of enjoyment of life.  Additionally, your spouse may have a claim for loss of consortium.
  • Wrongful death. When catastrophic accidents lead to death, the family of a victim may file a lawsuit on the deceased’s behalf for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering prior to death, in addition to the family’s own claims for the loss of their loved one.

What if I Can’t Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?

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.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Client and the Attorney?

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The driver who caused my accident and injuries was uninsured. What do I do?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How much does a personal injury lawyer cost?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How much is my injury claim worth?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

What damages can I collect for my injury claim?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

Why do I need a personal injury lawyer if my case is so clear-cut?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How do I know if I have an injury claim?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

How long do I have to bring an injury claim?

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. 

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

I had a pre-existing condition that the accident made worse. Can I still collect compensation?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

I was injured at work and am collecting workers’ compensation. Can I still sue the person who caused my injuries?

You cannot sue your employer in Arkansas, but you could bring a personal injury claim against an outside contractor or other thirdparty. 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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

If I was partially at fault, can I still collect compensation for my injuries?

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.

Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

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