Navigating the World of Personal Injury Law Made Easy: Important Things to Know

In the most straightforward sense, personal injury law applies to cases when someone or something causes harm. As per the Cornell Law School, the three grounds based on which a personal injury claim may be filed include strict liability, negligence, and intentional wrongdoings. 

Such claims are not limited to bodily harm or injuries. If someone’s emotional health is affected or their reputation is maligned, they can drag the liable party into the courtroom. On average, the US sees over 39 million personal injury claims annually where the victim requires immediate medical attention. 

Given the different types of claims in this area and the rules governing them, it can be a complex landscape to navigate. In this article, we will discuss a few important things you must know about the composite world of personal injury law. 

Common Types of Personal Injury Claims 

Whenever a personal injury claim comes to mind, it is natural to think about some sort of accident. Most people believe that personal injury lawsuits can only be filed in the case of a car, truck, or motorcycle accident

While these incidents make up a significant portion of personal injury cases, they are still only a part of the big picture. In other words, a claim of liability for personal injuries can be made even under the following circumstances:

  • Medical malpractice that resulted from negligence or carelessness on the part of a healthcare professional.
  • Product liability claims are filed for injuries sustained by customers due to a defective product.
  • Occupational or workplace accidents like slip and fall, chemical exposure, overexertion, electrocution, etc.�
  • Premises liability claims are filed when a person suffers an injury at someone’s private property or a business-owned building.
  • Nursing home abuse claims against caretakers who mentally, physically, or sexually assault an elderly.
  • Dog bite claims are filed when someone is bitten or attacked by a dog, regardless of the injuries.

Importance of Evidence 

Any type of personal injury claim will carry the burden of proof. In other words, the plaintiff must prove before the insurer or court that the liable party is responsible for the accident. Let’s delve deeper using the example of a car accident in, say, St. Louis, Missouri.�

This US city has received much criticism for being dangerous, particularly from the perspective of poor road safety. Some incidents or crashes are pretty straightforward and may turn out to be an open-and-shut case. 

Others may promptly require the intervention of a St. Louis personal injury attorney. This is usually the case with multi-vehicle accidents, especially those involving a large commercial truck. There is often more than one liable party, which adds to the case’s complexity. 

According to TorHoerman Law, an attorney would begin with the process of gathering evidence to assess liability. This would include witness statements, medical reports, police files, and any video footage. Without such supporting evidence, a car accident lawsuit may lose its credibility in court. 

The same goes for any other personal injury claim. For instance – product liability cases would often involve forensic evidence and scientific proof linking the product to alleged injuries. Unless the burden of proof is taken care of, there is no concrete way of determining fault. 

Statute of Limitations 

Furthermore, every personal injury claim is accompanied by the principle of the statute of limitations. As per this rule, the plaintiff is bound by a predefined time limit to file their case in court. 

If they fail to meet the specified deadline, the plaintiff would lose their right to compensation. Now, the statute of limitations is not set in stone for all jurisdictions or personal injury claims. Drawing from our previous example, the filing window for any car accident claim across Missouri is up to five years from the date of the incident. 

On the other hand, the Florida jurisdiction has set the statute of limitations for automotive accidents to just four years. Similarly, this principle for product liability claims may range between two and four years, depending on the state. 

Extensive Analysis of Damages 

The primary purpose of filing a personal injury claim, or a substantial part of extending justice, is providing compensation to the plaintiff. Every victim is entitled to monetary compensation, albeit the process may be complex and extensive. 

The court will conduct a thorough analysis of the losses suffered in terms of physical injuries, emotional trauma, loss of income or consortium, etc. Besides the present, the jury will consider how the victim’s future may be impacted. 

In most cases, a lawyer would help the plaintiff ascertain the compensation they may be able to receive. They would account for all factors, including the severity of injuries, the plaintiff’s age, and more, before estimating the amount. 

On a parting note, it’s important to discuss that attorneys generally tend to avoid dragging any personal injury claim before a jury. Unless there is a multi-district litigation (MDL) involved, this is preferable to save time, energy, and resources. 

They give their utmost to have the case settled out of court by mutual agreement of the parties involved. Perhaps this is why the number of personal injury lawsuits has declined across different categories. For instance, product liability case filings dropped by 39% in 2023. Overall, this spells good news as plaintiffs receive swift justice, and courts remain free of mounting piles of lawsuits.

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