A personal injury lawsuit is a way to get compensation for an injury even if it does not occur because of a criminal act. Even if the cause of your injury is not criminal, you may still be able to hold a party liable through a civil suit. At the core of this idea is the difference between justice and accountability.
People, businesses and government agencies have certain responsibilities to ensure their premises and those who visit them are safe. Their carelessness or irresponsibility may contribute to an accident or injury. Just because there is no crime does not necessarily mean they are free from all accountability.
Personal injury actions often arise from the following areas:
- Automobile, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Slip, trip or fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective medical devices or drugs
- Workplace accidents
- Dog bites
Most cases occur because of a person or entity failing to exercise reasonable care, also known as negligence.
Other reasons for personal injury lawsuits
Negligence is not the only way to hold others accountable for injuries. Some situations involve intentional wrongdoings. Those involving manufacturers are strictly liable for any defective products.
What the process looks like
When you initiate a personal injury claim, you are the plaintiff while the person or entity you are suing is the defendant. Lawyers who represent each side then gather evidence, generally by obtaining documents and conducting interviews. Then, the case either goes to trial or ends in a settlement. Settling means you agree to receive money in exchange for dropping your lawsuit. Whether you should accept a settlement depends on the strength of your case.
Compensation for your injuries
If you win your case, a jury or judge awards you monetary compensation for your injuries, otherwise known as damages. This money may cover lost wages, medical bills, future wage losses, pain and suffering, disability or physical disfigurement.