Understand a Personal Injury Lawsuit Following a Car Accident

The last thing any driver on the road wants is to be involved in a car accident that causes minor or major injury. Along with the time it takes to recover from these injuries, a person loses out on wages and general life experiences that they otherwise would have had. Worse still is the fact that insurance may not cover some of these financial costs, which means the accident can leave you in a state of financial ruin. Due to this, pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in specific situations may be in your best interest.

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Many people are often aware of what exactly a personal injury lawsuit is. This form of law specifically refers to an event where one person injures another person through negligent or intentionally action. When this occurs, the injured party chooses to sue the other party for the purpose of receiving financial compensation to cover medical bills, emotional damages, and much more.

Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

While no two personal injury cases will look exactly the same, there are a number of common examples including:
- Slip and fall accidents in a store, in public, or in general
- Animal attacks resulting from an off-leash animal
- Vehicle collisions or a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian on the road
- Medical malpractice
- A defective product having an issue and causing an injury

Top Reasons to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

In some cases, a person may not be certain whether or not their situation justifies filing a personal injury lawsuit. There are a number of main reasons a person may consider filing, but the most prominent three include:

1. An insurance claim won’t cover the entire scope of the damages

While insurance can certainly be helpful in covering some medical costs and damage to your vehicle, it isn’t perfect. In some no-fault insurance states around the country where you are required to have an extra layer of PIP insurance coverage, your policy may not cover all expenses. When this occurs, you may feel it is justified to file a lawsuit against the other person to cover extra damages, such as pain and suffering.

2. The other party acted with blatant disregard for your health

In some cases, you may not be satisfied with having insurance cover the issue. If you saw the person who caused your injuries acting in such a way that they were knowingly disregarding your health, it may be worth pursuing the matter in a court of law to hold them accountable for their actions.

3. You are unsatisfied with the insurance investigation

As mentioned, insurance is not perfect and it’s unlikely that all aspects of the investigation will go how you want them to. If you believe the insurance adjustor who handled your case did not do so properly and that a personal injury lawsuit is the better option, filing could be a good choice.

How Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Work?

For those who have never been involved in a personal injury lawsuit before, there are five primary stages to the case that will be focused on, ranging from settlement to the items that must be proved in court:

Potentially reaching a Settlement

First and foremost, as you are gathering the details of the case the lawyers on both sides will see if there are settlement options available. A settlement occurs when the two parties agree to not take the matter to court in return for the plaintiff receiving a sum of money. In most cases, there will be a large number of back and forth, but the majority of cases will stop right here. However, for those special cases that do not settle, a court case will occur that centers around providing the following four items.

Establishing a Duty of Care

First, the plaintiff will attempt to establish that the defendant had a duty of care to keep others safe. This simply means they had a responsibility to act in such a way that the others around them would not be injured, such as a driver obeying the rules of the road and not acting recklessly.

Proving a Breach of Duty of Care

Next, the plaintiff must prove to the court that the defendant violated the duty of care that they had, either intentionally or through their negligence. A common example would be a distracted driver choosing to check their phone and running through a light, only to hit someone crossing the road.

Showing Proximate Causation

Third, it must be shown that the negligent or intentional actions on behalf of the defendant resulted in the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. These injuries may be directly or indirectly caused.

Correlation of Damages

Finally, the injuries that the plaintiff is suing for compensation for must line up with the amount of money they are requesting. In most cases the court will take testimony from a medical professional who can attest to the extent of the injuries.

How Much Can You Win from a Personal Injury Case?

With 95% of civil cases settling before trial, it’s very likely that a personal injury case you are involved in will simply settle. For an average personal injury case, a person can expect to garner around $31,000 in financial compensation from the other person. However, for certain types of personal injury cases such as a medical malpractice case, this value can quickly climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the situation.

The Bottom Line

While a personal injury lawsuit won’t be the right choice for every car accident depending on the cause, it can be an effective option for some people. Keep in mind, though, that proving all of the factors required to win a personal injury lawsuit is easier said than done. Unless you have a slew of witnesses or proof, it can be difficult to settle your case quickly, which means you will be spending money on legal fees. However, for serious accidents where there is clearly a justifiable case, don’t hesitate to reach out to an accredited personal injury attorney in your area. 

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Posted - 04/27/2023