Without personal injury attorneys, insurance companies and other corporations would be able to take advantage of innocent Americans that lack the financial resources to fight back. Luckily, there are experienced attorneys working across the country fighting on the public’s behalf. Hopefully, this will help you better understand the personal injury process and why personal injury attorneys are so essential to our judicial system.
Unlike criminal cases, which are brought by the government, a personal injury lawsuit involves a plaintiff (private individual) filing a civil complaint against another party. The offending party can either be a person, business, corporation, or government agency.
Personal Injury Claims and Compensation
In a criminal case, the government brings charges seeking the offender pay a fine or spend time in jail or prison. The government pays its attorneys to bring the criminal case. In a civil suit, the plaintiff typically seeks monetary compensation for his/her injuries, though they can also request non-monetary relief, such as injunctions. In a civil suit, the individual must pay the attorney out-of-pocket, which is asking a lot when most people live pay check to pay check. In order for plaintiffs to have their day in court, personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee. Under a contingency fee, plaintiffs do not pay their attorneys out-of-pocket, they only pay if they win the case. Many personal injury law firms will even front the costs associated with filing the lawsuit.
In a civil suit, plaintiffs receive compensation through a verdict or by settlement. The percentages vary depending on state, but most personal injury claims settle before trial.
Personal injury claims are based on negligence; that is the defendant’s careless and unreasonable conduct injured the plaintiff. To establish the defendant’s negligence, the following four elements must be proved:
- Duty to Act: The defendant had a duty to act reasonably under the specific circumstances.
- Breach: The defendant breached the specific duty to act reasonably.
- Causation: The breach caused the physical or mental harm.
- Damages: the plaintiff suffered physical, mental, and monetary damages.
The judicial system is complicated and difficult to navigate unless you have experience with its procedures. If you have a personal injury claim, you should speak with an experienced legal professional to walk you through the entire process. Do not wait until it is too late.