Personal injury cases are a big chunk of the legal work being done across this country. If you have ever been involved in an accident – either as a driver, pedestrian, or passenger – and had to spend time in a hospital or doctor’s office, then you know how financially devastating these injuries can be. This article will introduce you to common terms used in personal injury law so that you can better understand your case if it ends up going to court.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is important because it helps protect people who get hurt physically or psychologically due to another person’s carelessness. When someone has their rights violated by negligence, intentional harm, or some other way they may be able to claim a personal injury case. This can result in the defendant having to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
There are four different types of cases that fall under personal injury law: car accidents, slip and falls, intentional harm (assault), and product defects. When you hear about a court case where the plaintiff was suing because they got hurt on a property or by a defective product, it’s probably a personal injury case even though there may be another term used in the media to describe it.
What Are The Different Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits?
1. Car Accidents
In many states, the legal system follows what is called “comparative negligence.” This means that if you file an injury claim as a result of a car crash and the other driver is 50 percent or more at fault, then you can only recover damages that correspond to that percentage. So if the other driver was found to be 80 percent at fault and your medical bills were $2,000, you’d only get $400 back (20% of $2000). Keep this in mind if you are ever involved in an accident so that you don’t get tricked into taking less than what you actually deserve.
2. Slip and Falls
Unreasonably dangerous conditions on someone else’s property can cause a slip and fall injury. For example, if a store fails to clean up a spill in their aisle, they would likely be held liable for any injuries sustained as a result. They can even be sued if their signs are misleading or not clearly visible, which is why it’s important to take pictures of any property conditions that could later become evidence in court.
3. Intentional Harm
Any form of assault (aggressive contact intended to cause harm) can be grounds for an intentional harm claim. These claims often come up when the defendant was under the influence at the time of the accident. For instance, if someone drove drunk and hit you with their car, they would likely be liable for damages resulting from their intoxication.
4. Product Liability
Most states recognize three different types of product liability cases: negligence, breach of warranty, and strict tort liability (failure to warn). If you got hurt using a product that was defective, then you can sue the manufacturer if your case falls under one of these three categories. For instance, some car seats have been recalled because they were deemed to be too flimsy and prone to failure during an accident.
What Are Damages In A Personal Injury Case?
According to attorney Brandon J. Broderick In order for someone to win damages in a personal injury case, they must first show that their injuries qualify as a legitimate claim. This means proving medical conditions such as broken bones, scarring, or PTSD. If your injuries don’t fall under this category but you still think you deserve compensation, then it’s worth reaching out to a professional who specializes in non-physical damage cases (also called “general damages”). Typically these kinds of cases involve emotional distress, loss of loved ones, or other forms of pain and suffering.
Negotiating Reduced Personal Injury Lawyer Fees
Be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you were hurt and think someone else might be legally responsible for your damages. If the other driver was at fault, then they may have to pay for costs associated with loss of earnings, future medical expenses, and even possibly your diminished quality of life.
Pay Hourly Up to a Limit
Regardless of how you decide to file your personal injury claim, it should be noted that the American legal system was built around the idea that everyone is entitled to their day in court. Because of this, lawyers will often charge fees based on the time they spend working on your case.
Your attorney could end up charging anywhere from $100/hr to $1000/hr, depending on how complicated your case is. If you are filing a personal injury claim through the state, then they will also pay for some of your legal costs. However, if you end up receiving less than what you were seeking in damages, then you may be responsible for covering any additional attorney fees.
Some personal injury lawyers charge a “contingency fee,” which means that they only get paid if you successfully win your case. In this case, the lawyer can end up getting anywhere from 25% to 40% of what you actually receive in damages. It’s important to note that contingency fees are illegal for certain kinds of cases (i.e. medical malpractice), but they are still very common in personal injury claims.
However, you can always negotiate with your lawyer to charge less than the standard rate if that is more appropriate for your financial situation. Be sure to discuss how much time and money it will take on their part before agreeing to pay a certain hourly rate.
So with all that said, how can you reduce personal injury lawyer fees? Just be sure to keep in mind that you have a lot of options when it comes to filing personal injury claims, so never feel obligated to use the first lawyer that you meet with. Luckily, most personal injury lawyers are willing to give free initial consultations where they can explain your rights and talk about the value of your case.
How to Reduce Personal Injury Lawyer Fees:
– Never hire a lawyer without having an initial consultation first (and never sign any paperwork)
– Always shop around for the best rates, especially if you are not confident that you have a good case. This can help you avoid unnecessary fees.
– Ask about any hidden charges before signing any agreements. Sometimes personal injury lawyers will try to sneak in extra charges or expenses after they already have your signature on paper.