Personal Injury General Liability FAQ

Published on June 8th, 2022

Personal injury lawsuits can be more complicated than they appear at first glance. Liability is always the first place to start when looking to pursue legal action after an incident that led to a personal injury.

Liability can be placed on different people or companies due to different circumstances. Who is liable for a personal injury accident? This seemingly easy-to-answer question needs more details and information to be recognized by a court of law. And while most PI lawsuits are settled before going to court, some lawsuits can drag on before a verdict or settlement is reached. How can you tell if your case is worth it?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions associated with personal injury liability lawsuits, along with some general good practices when looking into filing a PI lawsuit.

Personal Injuries: Insurance Claims and Liability

Most personal injury cases are solved before they go to court. This usually occurs after a personal injury attorney meets with the liable party to come to an agreement on the compensation due for an accident that led to personal injury.

Obtaining a fair settlement before a case is litigated in court is the preferred outcome for all parties. Lawsuits can be very long and become very expensive, especially when they involve personal injury. An attorney and their legal team can help you get what you need from a PI settlement, even if the case doesn’t go to court.

There are a few reasons why personal injury cases may not be accepted by a personal injury attorney and/or settled before going to court. These include things like:

  • Difficulty establishing liability
  • The statute of limitations has expired
  • The financial benefits of the case are insufficient

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury lawsuit is any claim or dispute involving a personal injury brought before a court of law. Personal injury lawsuits can include both physical and mental damage.

Personal injury lawsuits usually provide examples of negligence on behalf of the defendant, but this is not always the case. It is important to talk to your attorney about anything that led to your injury, as many things can factor into negligence on behalf of a defendant.

Who is Liable for an Accident that Results in Personal Injury?

This can be a tough question to answer. Talking about your personal injury situation with an attorney can help clarify who was at fault. There are, however, some questions you can answer yourself. And remember, take care of yourself before diving headlong into pursuing legal action–a clear mind can help build a stronger case.

You always want to consult with a lawyer before talking to anyone after an accident. Mentioning certain things or signing liability documentation can put you in a tough spot legally. If you are confused or concerned about anything that has occurred since your accident, you should contact a law firm for a consultation as soon as possible.

Personal Injuries on the Road: Liability Questions

After you have sufficiently recovered from an accident, these are some general questions you’ll want to have ready for any legal consultation.

  • Did you require medical care? If you weren’t taken from the site by an ambulance, how soon after the accident did you seek medical care?
  • What were the conditions of the road when the accident occurred?
  • Were you violating any traffic laws at the time of the accident? Anything from speeding (even a mile or two over the limit) or not using a turn signal on the highway can affect your lawsuit.
  • Have you read any tickets, traffic violations, or other official reports regarding the accident?
  • Was any driver involved in the accident under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
  • Did the conditions of the road (infrastructure damage) play a factor in causing your accident?
  • Have you talked to any insurance representatives about your accident?

General Personal Injury Liability Questions

If you were involved in an accident that resulted in personal injury that wasn’t related to the road, these questions are good to have answered before consulting a lawyer.

  • Did you require medical care? If you weren’t taken from the site by an ambulance, how soon after the accident did you seek medical care?
  • Where did the accident occur? On your property or someone else’s?
  • Was a product malfunction involved in your injury?
  • Did the incident occur due to external factors (ie contractors for remodeling, cleaning, catering, etc)?
  • Does the owner of the property where the incident occurred have liability insurance?
  • Have you talked to any insurance representatives about the accident?

All of the above questions are good ways to help find out who was liable for your accident. Writing down any information you have as you remember it is crucial–start taking notes as soon as you feel healthy enough to look at the circumstances of your accident. If friends or family members were there, ask them if you are forgetting anything or if they noticed things you didn’t.

Personal Injuries at Work: Liability Questions

If you were injured on the job, you are then entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits. Under Workers’ Compensation, there is no liability — you don’t need to prove that your employer or your co-workers did anything wrong to get these benefits. And, filing a workers’ compensation claim generally means the worker cannot sue the employer in civil court. There are some exceptions where an employee can sue employers for a work-related injury. Some examples would include if the injury is caused by an intentional physical assault by the employer, the employer fraudulently and deliberately hid something that made the injury worse, and/or the employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Courts are often reluctant to broaden the scope for an employee to sue an employer when the option of workers’ compensation exists but if a strong case exists then a personal injury attorney will have the necessary support for a civil case.  

These are good questions to have answered and ready for any legal team you are communicating with.

  • Does your employer have Workers’ Compensation?
  • Did your injury result in pain and suffering, punitive damages, and loss of consortium (companionship)?
  • Was your injury caused by a willful physical assault by your employer?
  • Was your injury due to being exposed to certain conditions that your employer knew about yet hid from you?

What Evidence Matters for Personal Injury Liability?

After you have recovered sufficiently enough from a personal injury to take a deeper look at the circumstances, you may want to document some things for evidence. Some documentation matters more than others–the following are some of the most common pieces of documentation you can gather for potential evidence.

  • Photos and medical records of your injuries. Certain types of injuries can be directly correlated with specific types of accidents. Be as thorough as you can.
  • An honest narrative about what occurred before the accident. Writing down what happened before your PI accident can be an important piece of evidence. Make sure to be as honest as you can–many workplaces and public places have cameras. If the accident occurred around coworkers, friends, or family, you may want to reach out for extra information.
  • Physical property from the site of the accident. If your accident was caused by a product or tool malfunctioning, be sure to have the object or as much physical evidence as you can. Certain malfunctions can be pinpointed from damage sustained.
  • Any documentation you have received from public and/or private sources. Make sure to save all documentation you receive related to your accident. This includes documents from the police, fire department, hospital, or any insurance companies involved.

While these pieces of evidence are generally good items to have on-hand, your lawyer may want something specific. This is why it is so important to get a legal consultation early on–before a key piece of evidence or information disappears.

Should I Pursue Legal Action for Personal Injury Liability?

If personal injury due to an accident has led to financial loss for you or your family you should definitely consult with a lawyer for options. A consultation will let you know if your potential lawsuit is worth pursuing. There are, however, three things that need to be present in your case for legal action to be potentially worth pursuing.

  • An injury that required medical treatment. We mentioned earlier that both physical and mental injuries can be used to pursue legal action. Keep in mind that pursuing a lawsuit for any type of injury requires that treatment was deemed medically necessary.
  • Proof of loss. In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, loss includes anything that directly correlates to financial issues suffered by a plaintiff due to an accident. Productivity loss that leads to economic 
  • repercussions can directly relate to an injury suffered from a personal injury accident.
  • Reasonable suspicion of negligence. A personal injury lawsuit must be able to prove liability. Negligence on the part of the defendant is a large part of this. Personal negligence or willingly disobeying safety protocols will not stand up in a court of law.

Does Personal Injury Liability Have a Statute of Limitations?

Yes. The statute of limitations for lawsuits varies from state to state and can even change in-state due to the type of lawsuit. This is why it is imperative to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you have suffered due to personal injury.

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for a personal injury or wrongful death claim is two years. This is two years from the date of an accident that led to personal injury. It is extremely important to remember this, as certain internal damage (among other things) can take some time to properly diagnose. Talking to a lawyer as soon as possible can get a lawsuit rolling. Lawsuits can be amended, so getting on track as soon as possible is essential.

Can an Attorney Help with Personal Injury Liability?

Yes. While an initial look may make one party look liable, more information is needed to legally solidify liability. Attorneys and their legal teams will be focused on finding who is liable for a given personal injury accident and how to formulate a successful lawsuit to bring against them.

This is also why it is imperative that you consult with an attorney before talking to any other third parties that may try to get you to sign something that will give you few to no benefits for an injury that may affect you for the rest of your life. Making sure you know how to answer any questions or whether you even have to answer them at all will make your case easier to handle.

Can I Hire a Lawyer After Claims Processes Have Begun?

Yes. If a personal injury claims process starts to seem overly complicated or even if something just ‘feels off,’ you need to consult with an attorney. It can be very difficult to modify a claim that has already been put in motion, especially if payments or services have already been started.

An attorney and their legal team can help translate legal jargon into terms you can understand and let you know if anything seems wrong.

Personal Injury Liability Settlement Values

The most common question associated with personal injury lawsuits is “how much will my settlement be?” This question is nearly impossible to answer–there are just too many legal and private sector (insurance policies, financial policies, etc) factors that go into giving a hard number. So, if an attorney can’t give you a figure, why should you talk to them?

Lawyers can give you an answer to whether or not your personal injury liability claim is worth pursuing legally. This is especially true if a personal injury lawsuit will go to court. Lawsuits take money and time so figuring out if an optimal outcome will be worth the fight before it happens is crucial.

Peter Wachowski, Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another person or entity, our experienced attorneys can help you receive compensation for the damages you have suffered. Get a free case review by calling 866-699-3339 ‌or‌ ‌complete‌ ‌the‌‌ ‌case‌ ‌request‌ ‌form‌.‌

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