Personal Injury Lawsuit FAQ

Published on March 31st, 2022

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury lawsuits are legal disputes that happen when a party suffers harm from an accident or negligence and another party may be at fault. Personal injury cases become lawsuits when legal action is taken and lawyers become involved.

Many personal injury cases are settled before legal action is taken. Situations where personal injuries occur only become lawsuits after formal legal action is taken and submitted to a court.

Personal injury cases and lawsuits often involve*:

  • Roadway Accidents
  • Auto Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Premise Liability
  • Slips and Falls
  • Dog Bites
  • Professional Negligence
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Product Liability

*Not a comprehensive list. This list is provided to give common examples of situations that involve personal injury.

If an accident that leads to injury involves a situation on the above list or something similar, a personal injury case (and potentially lawsuit) should be investigated.

Are There Different Types of Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law involves any lawsuit concerned with personal injuries no matter the context. While there aren’t specific types of personal injury law, there are law firms and lawyers who specialize in certain types of personal injury lawsuits.

Popular areas of personal injury lawsuit specialization include:

  • Motor vehicle and roadway injuries & claims
  • Workplace-related injuries & claims
  • Premises-related injuries & claims (injuries due to conditions of another party’s property)
  • Public personal injury cases (injuries incurred by the conditions of a public place or institution)
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death lawsuits
  • Product liability lawsuits (both manufacturer and improper training)
  • Class action personal injury lawsuits

This list is an example of some common types of personal injury law specialization. Some law firms get even more specific with the types of personal injury law they focus on.

Some attorneys even narrow down the scope of clients they represent to specific areas of a specialized field. For instance, a personal injury lawyer may specialize in motorcycle accidents, while a medical malpractice lawyer may specialize in physician and nursing home-related personal injury cases.

If you are in an extremely unique personal injury situation, there are attorneys who focus on extremely narrow issues. Things like a certain model of car causing injury or employee safety in a specific state or company. While some of these are class action lawsuits, others represent a field big enough to represent but small enough to specialize in.

Why do so many personal injury lawyers have a field they specialize in? Because personal injury law is a big field. Specializing in a certain type of personal injury case allows attorneys to streamline processes like documentation, allowing quicker filing and action for clients. Attorneys who focus on one area of personal injury (PI) law are experienced in how PI lawsuits work and can let their clients know what may or may not happen in a given situation.

When Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

As soon as possible. If you or someone you know was injured due to the negligence of another party, you need to get legal advice as soon as possible.

Getting a lawyer to evaluate your situation and circumstances is imperative to ensure the best possible outcome. Many things can get in the way of a proper personal injury settlement (insurance, employment contracts, other areas of law, etc.), so having a lawyer to interpret and advise is recommended in every PI-related situation.

It’s very important that you do not sign anything without consulting an attorney. Many times, documentation signed without proper legal supervision disables the injured party from pursuing any further legal action.

A personal injury lawyer can also help you find the party at fault for your situation. For example, an injury suffered at work on a job site owned by a third party could be the fault of either an employer or a property owner. Using machinery or other products that malfunction can add more layers to PI lawsuits. Finding the party with legal culpability is essential for a strong personal injury case.

How do I Find the Right Personal Injury Lawyer?

Finding the right personal injury lawyer can be tough. The first thing you should do is browse the internet for law firms or lawyers that specialize in areas related to your PI case. Questions to ask a lawyer you are considering for representation should include things like:

  • Do you have experience with your particular situation / related cases?
  • Is my situation worth pursuing legally?
  • Who is at fault for my personal injury case? (product manufacturer, property owner, etc)
  • Do you typically settle out-of-court or push to litigate in court?
  • How much can I expect to spend on legal fees, both for lawyers and court fees?
  • Is my case worth pursuing legally or should I take an offered settlement?
  • How long does a case like mine typically take to resolve?
  • Is there a statute of limitations for my specific injury or case?
  • Who should I talk to, if anyone, on my end? (insurance companies, unions, etc.)
  • Should I talk to anyone who contacts me (employer, property owner, etc.)?

Questions like these during a consultation should give you a good idea of what you should expect in your case and how your lawyer will work. Even if a lawyer you contact can’t give you the exact help you need, they may be able to point you in the right direction.

Asking about an out-of-court settlement vs. litigate and eventual settlement will give you perspective on how serious your injury is and how strong your case can be. Settlements may be encouraged by attorneys who view them as the best outcome for a given case. Out-of-court settlements aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sometimes an out-of-court settlement is the best course of action to follow.

As with any case, be sure to be honest with your attorney and provide all the information they request of you. To represent your case correctly your lawyer must be well informed and know about any details that may be used against you.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

The chief responsibility of a personal injury attorney is securing compensation for losses and injuries suffered by their clients. Personal injury lawyers have many obligations to clients, the foremost including:

  • Determining culpability. Who is at fault for a client’s accident? An employer or property owner? A product manufacturer or a user of that product?
  • Giving legal advice and courses of action to clients. Attorneys specializing in personal injury cases will tell you what to do, what to expect, and how to react to situations that may arise.
  • Gathering, compiling, and presenting information. Personal injury attorneys will organize your case and all the pertinent information related to it. This includes evidence, statements, legal documentation, legal precedents & rulings, and anything else that will help your case.
  • Legal procedure issues. Filing and responding to motions in a timely manner is something any PI lawyer will do for you. Personal injury attorneys will respond to certain motions and litigation to avoid getting legally bogged down.
  • Representation in court. If your case is not settled out of court, your lawyer will represent you in a court of law. Proper representation is essential to properly presenting your case to the court.
  • Court filing. PI attorneys will properly file and respond to all legal documentation related to your case. Many legal documents are difficult to read to the untrained eye, so having a lawyer is needed to properly understand what is happening.
  • Determining what the best outcome for your case is. Personal Injury attorneys have the best interests of their clients in mind. Attorneys will interpret the legal jargon for you and let you know what the best course of action for an optimal settlement is.

Many of these bullet points describe the jobs of lawyers at a general level. Personal injury attorneys specialize in the issues, documentation, filings, proceedings, and in-court appearances specifically related to injury or accidental death cases. This means they can move at a much faster pace than a general attorney (who may not be totally familiar with PI specifics).

Lawyers specialize in specific fields for a good reason: there is a lot of law out there. The amount of knowledge about a particular field can give an attorney a huge advantage in a legal dispute. Prompt filings with the correct information and tight in-court representation are two examples of areas where hiring a non-specialist attorney may not work out in your favor.

How are Personal Injury Lawsuits Settled?

Personal injury lawsuits can be settled in a few different ways. There is the informal settlement (out-of-court settlement), formal lawsuit rulings, and mediation or arbitration.

Out-of-court settlements are used when two parties come to an agreement that doesn’t require a court of law to rule on. These types of settlements are usually sealed with a legal contract requiring both parties to agree that no future legal action will be taken to guard the case at hand. Out-of-court settlements are usually agreed upon when a defending party offers an incentive deemed sufficient by the other party.

Formal lawsuits are the legal cases everyone thinks of in relation to court–lots of paperwork, litigation, and potential in-court appearances. These are the lawsuits that can drag on and may cost a lot of money for everyone involved. Formal lawsuits are usually pursued when a defending party refuses to take responsibility for exceptionally damaging circumstances. Settlements in formal lawsuits are determined by the court.

Arbitration and mediation are alternative forms of litigation that involve a third party outside of the court or legal system to determine fault and potential settlements. Like an out-of-court settlement, arbitration requires the agreement of both parties on all issues and outcomes. In the case of potential arbitration or mediation, it is imperative that your lawyer is comfortable with the third party. Hiring an outside party that favors one side can lead to poor outcomes for one party or the other.

Note that not all settlements in personal injury lawsuits lead to cash settlements. Formal lawsuits may lead to an outcome where the defending party is only responsible for medical bills and court costs (for example). This is why it is imperative to determine what type of action will get the best settlement or outcome for each individual situation.

What is Personal Injury Protection? Is it Related to Liability?

This section is in reference to personal injury protection (PIP) components associated with some auto insurance plans. The information in this section is only relevant to those involved with personal injury cases stemming from automobile accidents.

Personal injury protection is a part of some automobile insurance plans associated with covering healthcare costs due to accidents. PIP components of insurance plans usually only cover a specified amount of money before outside sourcing (health insurance or cash payments) is needed.

PIP can be an important aspect of auto injury-related personal injury claims. While PIP covers healthcare costs it is not liability insurance. PIP covers the healthcare of drivers, while liability insurance covers healthcare-related costs of other parties involved in an accident.

In some auto accidents that cause personal injury, insurance companies or other providers may dispute healthcare-related costs and fault/negligence. Personal injury law specialization includes lawyers that help with insurance disputes related to PIP and liability plan components.

Lawsuits related to PIP, liability, and professional liability insurance plans can become very complicated quickly. Personal injury lawyers can help navigate the complexities of automobile accident legalities regarding insurance plans and the specifics of a given accident and resulting injuries.

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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