Experiencing legal issues is relatively common from time to time, and you can hire a lawyer when you need professional help. You can find more than 170,000 attorneys in California, but you’ll need to pick the right type for the task.
A personal injury lawyer is one type you might need to hire, but you’ll only need this type if you need to file a personal injury claim. First, however, you might wonder, “What is a personal injury claim?”
A personal injury claim is a legal action you take against someone who caused harm to you that they could’ve prevented. Continue reading to discover more information about personal injury claims.
Personal Injury Claims Involve Negligence
You can’t file a personal injury claim unless it meets specific criteria. The first element your case must have is negligence. Negligence refers to someone acting recklessly or without concern.
Next, a personal injury case requires at least two parties. You are the victim of the incident, and the other party was negligent in some way. That person’s negligence must be the cause of your injuries.
Additionally, personal injury claims require several other elements. Two of these are the duty of care and the breach of duty of care.
Duty of care is a phrase that means the other party was responsible for doing something that could’ve prevented the incident. Breaching the duty of care means they didn’t do what was necessary.
For example, drivers must follow laws when they get behind the wheel of a car. When a driver sees a stop sign, they must stop. If they don’t stop, they’ve breached their duty of care.
Therefore, the duty of care is to stop at the stop sign. Breaching it means ignoring the stop sign by failing to stop.
You Must Have Injuries
Another element of a personal injury case is injuries. You can’t sue someone for damages if you didn’t experience injuries.
Let’s look at an example so you can understand how this works.
Assume that a driver failed to stop at a red stop light and collided with you. You could sue this driver if the collision left you with bruises, broken bones, a concussion, or any other injuries.
After all, the driver breached their duty of care by failing to stop.
This incident will lead to medical bills for the treatment needed, as well as other forms of damages. For example, you might have pain from the injuries, and this pain might lead to a loss of enjoyment in life.
Additionally, you might have emotional injuries from the incident. For example, you might suffer from anxiety or fear from the traumatic experience you went through during the split-second accident.
You Need Evidence
If you feel that your incident meets the criteria for a personal injury case, you can start looking for a personal injury lawyer.
First, however, you must hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you, as this provides a better outcome. When you meet with the attorney, they’ll ask about the incident.
For example, when did it occur, and what happened? Then, after explaining it to the attorney, they’ll ask for evidence.
First, you might need to obtain the police report from the incident. This report is the official document that states the accident details.
Next, do you have photos or videos from the accident scene? The attorney can use these items as proof when building the case. Additionally, you can submit medical bills and reports to prove your injuries.
Your case depends on your evidence, as it proves the events that caused the accident. This proof also correlates the injuries to the accident and verifies the severity of the injuries.
Types of Damages You Can Request
When you hire the best personal injury lawyer, they’ll decide how to proceed with the case. If they believe you have all the evidence needed to prove that the other party was negligent, they’ll proceed with the case.
During this time, your attorney will work on calculating your damages. Damages in personal injury law include all the injuries you experienced from the accident. Here are several types of damages your lawyer might request:
The first two types of damages fall into the compensatory damages category. Economic damages include the direct losses you experienced from the accident.
For example, your medical bills are economic damage. Other economic damages include future medical bills and lost wages. Economic damages are easy to calculate, as they are direct losses to you.
Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because they don’t have direct values. One example is pain and suffering. It’s hard to calculate how much money pain and suffering are worth, but it’s worth something.
Other non-economic damages include emotional distress and loss of consortium. Emotional distress might cause stress, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Loss of consortium refers to the loss you experience with your significant other when you can no longer receive affection, care, love, and support from them as you had before the accident.
In some cases, people can also ask for punitive damages. Punitive damages are on top of all the other damages you ask for in your case.
They offer financial compensation if the responsible party acted maliciously when the event took place.
How the Process Works
So, now you understand some of the fundamental principles of a personal injury claim, but you might have a few more questions. Primarily, you might wonder how the process works and the benefits of filing a claim.
First, the process begins by searching for a “personal injury lawyer near me.” You’ll need an attorney to begin the case. Next, you’ll explain your case to the attorney and show them the evidence.
If the attorney agrees to accept it, they’ll initiate the personal injury claim process. After that, your attorney will work with the other party’s attorney and the insurance company.
The goal is to reach an agreement with the other party without involving the court system.
Filing a personal injury claim is the best way to receive the compensation you’re entitled to after a car accident. Your lawyer will fight for the compensation you’re entitled to and handle the negotiations for you.
It’s also important to know that most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. Therefore, you only pay them if you win your case.
Filing a personal injury claim is the only way you can recover all the losses you experienced from the incident. Therefore, you should hire a lawyer if you have a case.
Do You Need to File a Personal Injury Claim?
After reading this article, you should understand the answer to “What is a personal injury claim?” If you believe you have a case against someone, you might benefit by speaking with a lawyer.
If you’re in California and need legal assistance with your case, contact us. At Empire Accident Attorneys, we offer free case evaluations.