Personal injury claims are not as uncommon as you might think. They are also not as straightforward as you might assume. You must be aware of not just the basic principles of a personal injury claim but also the procedures involved.
Before we get into the topic in detail, you must make sure that you take the advice of a legal professional in your area. For instance, if you are in Aurora, you must consult an Aurora personal injury lawyer.
- You must file your claim within the prescribed time – This is the most important aspect of filing a personal injury lawsuit. For the layman, there is something called the statute of limitations which prescribes time limits for filing various suits.
This time limit varies from state to state and therefore, it is necessary for you to file your claim within the prescribed time limit applicable to your state. If you do not do so, then your claim may be barred by limitation, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- You should be able to prove negligence – The basic premise of a personal injury claim is that you suffered an injury due to the negligence of another person. But you must remember that negligence stems from a lack of a level of care that any reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances.
Needless to say, you will need appropriate evidence to support your contentions. If there is a personal injury due to a fire in your workplace and you suffer injuries, then you can find out from the local municipal office whether your employer had the relevant licenses.
- You can claim different types of damages – So, in a personal injury claim, there are three types of damages that you can claim:
- Economic damages – These include monetary damages that you suffered as a result of the accident.
- Non-economic damages – These include damages for the pain and suffering you had to undergo due to the accident.
- Punitive damages – Although one can always claim such damages, they are only awarded by the courts where the negligent party’s fault is glaring.
- You must be able to prove your damages – As stated above, there are different types of damages that you can claim in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, you must remember that unless the other side accepts your claim at the initial stage itself, you will need to prove the same in a court of law.
This means that you must collect and file all the evidence that you have regarding the damages you have suffered. This can include medical bills, lack of employment or earning potential due to the accident, and other similar documents.
- Be open to out-of-court settlement – As you must be aware, going to court is a formal process subject to the statute of the state. You need to take steps like engaging an attorney and bear the associated costs.
However, it may not be necessary for you to take the litigation route if you and the other party can sit down and negotiate an out-of-court settlement. This can also be achieved through mediation.
In the case of such a settlement, you must make sure that there is a settlement agreement that takes care of the total amount of compensation that you are agreeable to. Moreover, there must be clauses that protect your right to sue in case the other party defaults on the payment terms.
Lastly, if the payment is made in full at the time of signing the settlement agreement, you must understand that, in most cases, you will not be able to pursue the claim for further damages in a court of law.
Suffering a personal injury is a traumatic experience in itself and can bring you down in life. Filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit requires consideration of both facts and law. While you may be aware of the facts in your case, only an attorney who is experienced in these kinds of matters can guide you properly. This guidance includes not just sharing legal knowledge but also how to prove the facts of your case.