What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law, or tort law, covers situations wherein an individual’s body, mind or emotions are hurt. More often than not, it is due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness. For instance, people may suffer accidental slips and falls in a hotel they booked or were injured in an accident because their recently purchased car turned out to be faulty.
The case begins when an injured person (plaintiff) sues a person or a business (defendant). While there are several types of personal injury cases, certain cases tend to be more common than others. Some of these include but are not limited to car accidents, injuries in premises, medical malpractice and consumer product liability.
The main responsibility of the lawyer working on such cases is money valuation from the claim. However, the law varies in different states, so the lawyer will need to be thoroughly aware of the subtle differences and fight for your right to claim the compensation. You need to choose a professional who knows the nitty-gritty of personal injury law, has a proven track record, and can help you at every step of the process, from start to finish.
This post is a useful resource that provides a complete low-down on the personal injury claim process, including when is the right time to hire a personal injury lawyer, how to hire an attorney for the process, what documents and details you will need to file the claim, how the personal injury claim process will unfold, etc.
Most Common Personal Injury Related Accidents
Personal injury related accidents occur every day, but some of the most common are motor vehicle accidents, which include car, truck, motorcycle, and pedestrian or cyclist accidents. With an average of 6 million car accidents reported per year in the U.S., it is unsurprising that they make up 52% of personal injury-related accidents.
Other common personal injury cases include accidents related to medical malpractice (15%) and accidents related to product liability (5%). The other 28% is made up of other accidents such as slips, falls, and other types of premises liability.
When to Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are considering pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, here are some situations in which you should hire a personal injury attorney:
- You are up against big insurance companies.
- You have suffered severe injuries or a long-term injury.
- You faced a significant loss of wages due to injuries.
- You don’t know anything about personal injury laws and procedural rules.
- You need to foot expensive medical bills.
- You were refused the payment of a fair settlement.
How to Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have never sought legal advice for a personal injury claim and are unfamiliar with the process, here’s where to start:
Search for a law firm or attorney who is local and familiar with the judges, medical practitioners, and the jurors in the community where the incident occurred. Then, do some research on the lawyer’s focus interest and, if you’ve set up an initial consultation, ask about their experience.
If they are an experienced attorney, you may want to inquire about their reputation in the market and even take a look into their current cases. Do they appear dedicated to their cases? Do they seem to value the attorney-client relationship? You’ll want to measure your comfort level with the attorney and determine if they are the right person to guide you through the injury claims process.
What Attorneys Need From You
Once you have decided on an attorney that you feel comfortable with, they will ask for quite a few details and documents to aid their investigation. As an accident victim, you’ll need to provide the following:
- Date, place, and how it happened.
- Details of witnesses.
- Photographs of accident/injuries.
- Medical records with details of injuries, diagnosis, and medical treatment.
- Proof of loss of earnings.
- Policy documents such as insurance policy.
How Lawyers Work on Your Personal Injury Case
In a typical personal injury case, during the initial part of the claim process, your attorney will investigate the accident using the information and documents you provided. For example, if your case is a motor vehicle accident they will examine the available auto insurance coverage and determine what type of settlement you may be able to receive.
Throughout the case, they will assist with health insurance and treatment issues, as well as manage settlement negotiations with the insurance adjuster. When your trial is approaching your lawyer will engage in the pre-trial discovery phase, and subsequently, take your case to trial. An experienced attorney will also offer legal advice and counsel continually throughout the personal injury claim process.
The critical responsibility of a lawyer in a case is money valuation in your personal injury claim. Here’s how that process works:
1. The lawyer understands the damages in your case. The three types of damages in personal injury law include:
- Economic – The damages refer to financial losses that can be directly attributed to the injury suffered and are easy to calculate, such as medical expenses.
- Non-Economic – This is typically the most important element of damages that requires your attorney’s expertise to assess. This includes damages for pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, “loss of society” and “loss of normal life.”
- Punitive – This is mainly for punishing the negligent party. It can be a part of settlement calculation in special circumstances.
2. The next step is to frame the case in a formal demand letter.
The time limitation for filing an injury claim varies under Illinois law. In many cases, the statute of limitations is two years but there are many exceptions for this. For example, the amount of time a case against a municipality must be filed within is one year.
Don’t lose your right to claim compensation. If you or a loved one are an injury victim, consult with an attorney immediately to avoid missteps that can lead to you losing your right to be fairly compensated under the law.
Call Palermo Law Group for Help With Your Insurance Claims
At Palermo Law Group, we believe that no Illinois resident, or anyone who visits from another state, should accept an insurance settlement offer without legal advice from a qualified accident attorney first. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we know all-too-well the games insurance companies and uninsured drivers try to play to settle a case quickly for an insufficient dollar value.
Don’t fall for insurance companies’ tricks. You deserve every penny of damages the law allows you to collect. Call our team at Palermo Law Group at 630-684-2332 or contact us to set up a free consultation to discuss your legal options. The sooner you meet with us, the better your chances of preserving your rights to recover the fair compensation you deserve.
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