When individuals commit negligent acts, such as violating traffic laws or failing to maintain their premises, serious accidents may happen, which lead to debilitating injuries.
In those situations, an accident victim can pursue settlement compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance companies make recovering compensation an uphill battle. Insurance companies want to settle claims for as little monetary compensation as possible.
The amount of time it takes to settle a personal injury claim or lawsuit will usually depend on the severity of the accident and injuries, as well as the willingness of the insurance company and their adjusters to resolve the case favorably. Another factor includes the quality of your personal injury lawyer.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a favorable settlement compensation, the insured accident victim always has the option of filing a lawsuit in the court system for monetary recovery.
If you recently sustained injuries in an accident that was someone else’s fault, you should consult a personal injury attorney in Madison as quickly as possible. Your attorney can investigate your accident circumstances, review your legal options with you, and execute the appropriate option for your case.
Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize your settlement compensation so that you may become whole again, to the greatest extent possible, after your accident.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases stem from negligence, which can take various forms. An individual or entity is negligent when they behave in an unreasonable, careless, or irresponsible manner under the circumstances.
Most jurisdictions use the reasonable person test when determining whether an individual or entity committed a negligent act. For example, a party likely acted negligently if they did something that a hypothetical reasonable person would not have done in the same or similar situation.
Similarly, negligence may have occurred if an individual or entity refrained from doing something that a hypothetical reasonable person would have done in the same circumstances.
A skilled personal injury attorney can determine whether another individual or entity has likely behaved negligently or unreasonably, given the facts and circumstances of your case.
When individuals and entities behave negligently, several different types of accidents or occurrences may result.
Some of the most common occurrences that result from the negligence and reckless acts of others include:
- Car and truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents
- Mass transit accidents
- Bus accidents
- Escalator and elevator accidents
- Medical negligence and malpractice,
- Product defects and malfunctions (including explosions)
- Boating accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction site accidents (especially those that take place on building sites)
Upon sustaining injuries in one of these types of accidents, you should consult a local personal injury lawyer right away. Your lawyer can investigate your accident circumstances, such as by retaining a certified accident reconstructionist who can investigate your case.
Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim with the at-fault individual or entity’s insurance company on your behalf, seeking the financial compensation you deserve for all your injuries.
Legal Elements of a Personal Injury Case
Injured accident victims have the sole legal burden of proof in any personal injury claim or lawsuit that they file after their accident.
On the other hand, the individual or entity that caused the accident does not need to satisfy any elements of proof or meet any other legal burden. Rather, the burden of proof rests solely with the accident victim who has sustained the injuries.
First, an accident victim must establish that the other party owed them a legal duty of care. For example, if the personal injury case stems from a motor vehicle accident, the accident victim must establish that the at-fault driver owed them a duty to operate a vehicle carefully and responsibly.
Similarly, if the accident involved a slip and fall on someone else’s premises, the accident victim must show that the property owner owed them a legal duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition and to warn about any hazards within a reasonable amount of time.
Additionally, the injured accident victim must demonstrate that the other party violated their legal duty of care somehow. For example, in a car accident scenario, the other driver may have operated their vehicle while distracted or intoxicated, or they may have violated some other traffic law.
Additionally, in a premises accident, the property owner might have failed to repair a defective floorboard, for example, or clean up a spill within a reasonable amount of time, violating their legal duty of care to the premises visitor.
Next, the injured accident victim must show that the accident occurred directly due to the other party’s careless or reckless behavior. Finally, they must demonstrate that they sustained at least one physical injury as a direct result of the occurrence.
Proving the legal elements of a personal injury claim can take time, and it may become necessary for your personal injury lawyer to retain several experts who can draft reports or testify as witnesses in your case.
For example, if the insurance company refuses to accept fault or liability for the accident, then an accident reconstructionist your attorney retains can visit the accident scene, take measurements, review video footage, and draw a conclusion about how the occurrence likely happened and who was responsible.
A certified accident reconstructionist may also prepare a report, which your lawyer may later forward to the at-fault party’s insurance company. Additionally, your expert accident reconstructionist can testify as a witness during a discovery deposition or civil jury trial in support of your personal injury case.
Finally, your lawyer can retain a qualified medical expert who can physically examine you and draft a report about the nature and extent of your injuries, as well as the causal connection between your injuries and the subject accident.
Moreover, a medical expert in your case can determine whether you suffered a permanent injury in your accident and, if so, can make that statement to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
An experienced personal injury attorney can retain experts in your case who can draft reports, testify on your behalf, and help the evidence in your case satisfy the legal burden of proof.
Types of Injuries That Accident Victims Frequently Suffer
Victims of serious accidents that result from others’ negligence may sustain serious injuries, some of which may be permanent. An accident victim’s injuries will depend upon the type of occurrence, the surrounding circumstances, and the amount of force involved.
Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer include traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, soft tissue injuries, mouth and teeth injuries, rib fractures, broken bones, road rash, severe bruises, permanent cognitive impairments, spinal cord injuries, paralysis injuries, and death.
After an accident, go to a healthcare provider for follow-up, and you must attend all prescribed medical appointments. Failing to obtain ongoing medical treatment after your accident may send a red flag to the insurance company that your claimed injuries are not serious. As a result, they may compensate you.
However, by seeking continuous treatment for your injuries and undergoing recommended medical procedures, you increase your chances of fully recovering and obtaining the fair compensation you need from the insurance company in a reasonable amount of time.
Factors That Influence the Length of Personal Injury Settlements and Litigation
Before filing a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will typically make at least one attempt to resolve the case with the insurance company through settlement.
During settlement negotiations, your attorney can point to favorable expert reports and medical records and highlight the strengths of your case while downplaying any weaknesses.
Your lawyer may also use litigation as a threat to entice the insurance company adjuster to increase their offer significantly. However, if that does not happen, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the state court system seeking the monetary recovery you deserve for your injuries. Once the case is in litigation, the parties may still reach a favorable settlement, avoiding the need for a civil jury trial.
Monetary Settlements in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
The types and amount of monetary compensation that an accident victim may recover will depend upon various factors, especially the nature and extent of their injuries, the complexity of their case, the total cost of their medical treatment, and whether they suffered a permanent injury or impairment.
If you suffered injuries in a recent accident, your personal injury attorney can first submit a claim to the insurance company and pursue favorable monetary damages in your case. If the insurance company will not make you a reasonable settlement offer, then your lawyer may pursue litigation.
Some of the most common types of monetary damages that accident victims may receive via a favorable settlement offer or litigation result in the court system include payment of all past and anticipated medical expenses, compensation for lost income if the accident victim had to take time off work to recover from their injuries, and loss of earning capacity if the accident victim had to switch to a lower-paying job due to the injuries they suffered in their accident.
In addition to recovering these economic damages, accident victims may be eligible to recover monetary compensation for their intangible losses.
For example, depending upon the extent of their injuries and the effect of those injuries on their overall life and well-being, an accident victim can pursue monetary recovery for all of the following: loss of the ability to use a body part, lost quality of life, loss of spousal companionship and consortium, permanent disability or disfigurement, permanent scarring, long-term or lifetime care costs, past and future pain and suffering, inconvenience, and mental anguish and emotional distress stemming from the accident.
Your personal injury attorney will fight for your rights during settlement negotiations to obtain the maximum amount of monetary compensation available in your case.
However, if the insurance company does not compensate you fairly, your lawyer will not be afraid to file a lawsuit and, if necessary, litigate your case all the way to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceeding such as mediation or arbitration.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
If you recently sustained injuries in an accident that occurred because another individual or entity behaved negligently, time is of the essence. According to the statute of limitations, an injured accident victim has only three years from the date of their accident to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
If they file their claim or lawsuit belatedly, the court will prevent them from recovering any monetary damages. Therefore, act quickly when securing legal counsel to represent you in your case.
A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can take all necessary steps to maximize your overall settlement or litigation award. Your attorney can also take steps to streamline your case so that settlement negotiations proceed efficiently and you do not have to wait a long time to recover favorable monetary damages.
However, if litigation becomes necessary in your case, your lawyer can properly file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations time frame and efficiently resolve your case in court.