What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law allows people who have suffered injury by the negligence of others to seek justice and compensation.
This type of litigation often involves individuals, companies, and their insurance companies.
Personal injury is an area of law that seeks to right the lives of people or companies who have been injured due to the wrongdoing of another. While most people are familiar with car wrecks, personal injury cases can also include dog bites, slip and fall accidents, burn accidents, pedestrian accidents, work related injuries, medical malpractice, or product liability.
No personal injury case is the same, so it can be difficult to state an exact definition of what is a personal injury case. However, there are some basic elements to all personal injury cases.
In all personal injury cases, a person is harmed by a negligence of a third-party. Often, the injured party incurs medical bills, expenses, and lost wages.
After an injury, the injured party should seek out a lawyer to represent them in their case to best advocate on their behalf.
After you have found the attorney that will best represent you, the document gathering and investigation process begins. This involves the collection of your medical records, medical bills, reports, and photographs. If there are any third-party witnesses, then they may be reached out to as well. Be wary of attorneys that skip or minimize this important step - the devil is usually in the details.
After a complete investigation and review of all of your documents, a thorough case assessment and valuation is put together. This assists in the drafting of the demand to the negligent party and/or their insurer. A demand is sent to the negligent party andinsurer asking for either their policy limits or a certain amount that is within the policy. Often the insurance policy limits are less than the actual medical bills!
The negligent party and insurer may accept the demand, reject the demand, or submit a counteroffer. If the negligent party and the injured party are unable to agree to an appropriate settlement amount, then a lawsuit would need to be filed before the statute of limitations expires. Otherwise, the injured party has no legal right to pursue their claim. In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date of incident.
Once in litigation, discovery and depositions occur. These usually include the relevant documents as noted above. Also, deposition testimony is often needed to gather each parties knowledge, thoughts, and understanding of how the accident happened and what medical treatment was sought afterwards.
It’s possible that your case may go to trial should you not agree with the offered settlement amount from the insurance company. It is also possible that your case could be settled before a trial is necessary. There are benefits to resolving a case in either manner. An out of court resolution doesn’t necessarily mean that your attorney isn’t advocating for your best possible outcome. There are additional considerations should a case go to trial that can include expert fees, litigation expenses, and a public record should a case proceed to trial. Sometimes an out of court settlement can mean a speedier outcome, more privacy, and less stress.
If you have questions about how a personal injury case works, reach out to me and I would be happy to discuss with you. If you have any questions, please click here to read my blog that discusses commonly asked questions.