Filing a personal injury claim might seem confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the legal system. However, if you’ve been injured and want to seek compensation, it’s essential that you understand how personal injury laws work. More importantly, you’ll need an experienced lawyer to help defend your case.
What Is Personal Injury?
Put simply, “personal injury” is a broad term that encompasses injuries to your body, reputation, and mental state. You can learn more about personal injury laws below.
Things To Know About Personal Injury Laws and Lawyers
There are a few things you should know before committing to a personal injury lawsuit. Specifically, you need to understand what the legal system expects of you, how to file, and how to increase your likelihood of success.
There’s a Time Limit for Filing
First and foremost, there’s a time limit for filing a personal injury claim with insurance companies. The statute of limitations varies between states, ranging from one year in Louisiana to six years in Maine and North Dakota. Once those limits pass, you’ll be out of luck. So, if you, your doctor, or your lawyer think your injuries are worthy of a lawsuit, take action as soon as possible.
They Require Detailed Evidence
As expected, personal injury cases can be tough to prove. You and your lawyer will need to gather copious amounts of evidence to prove your case. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect things to move quickly when you make your claim without legal assistance. If you plan to file yourself, do careful research on what steps to take and what evidence to gather to speed up the process.
They Consider Future Damages
Personal injury lawyers will consider future damages, as well as past and existing ones. For example, if your injury left you unable to work in your chosen field, your attorney can include compensation for future lost hours in your demand letter. Other future damages include additional or unexpected medical bills, therapy, and pain and suffering.
Hiring a Lawyer Will Increase Your Chances of Success
Perhaps unsurprisingly, lawyers will tell you that acquiring legal representation is the best way to ensure success in your personal injury case. However, telling you to hire a lawyer isn’t just a way to make money. The amount of work that lawyers do in personal injury cases outstrips what the average citizen with no legal experience can manage.
Pain and Suffering Has a Specific Formula
Pain and suffering is a catch-all term that includes many life-altering struggles you could or will face in the future. Since pain and suffering are so subjective, lawyers use a specific formula to calculate and award damages. Specifically, lawyers calculate pain and suffering using the following method:
Medical Bills x Pain Multiplier = Award
The pain multiplier is a variable that reflects your pain level during and after your injury. So, for example, if your medical bills were $100,000 and the accident caused you to lose a limb, you could be entitled to $500,000 in damages.
Another method is to calculate damages per day. The per diem method attempts to assign a cost to each day the claimant suffered. However, it’s not a common method because it’s more complex than the multiplier method above.
Be Prepared To Haggle
Finally, always view the first settlement offer as a starting point. After extensive research, you and your attorney will know what monetary compensation you’re entitled to receive. Always assert yourself, be your own advocate, and be prepared for a lengthy negotiation process with insurance companies.
Personal injury cases can be hard to prove, especially when you’re suing for pain and suffering. So take time to do your homework, hire an experienced personal injury attorney, and advocate for yourself from start to finish. Ultimately, the burden of proof is on you, but you’re bound to be successful with the proper knowledge and resources.