Accidents happen, and sometimes accidents are so damaging that legal action is necessary. A personal injury case is when a person suffers an injury, and another party can possibly be legally held responsible for it. Commonly, the two parties settle instances of personal injury outside the courtroom. The injured party can also begin civil court proceedings in an effort to find the other party legally at fault for the injuries caused.
Beginning a Formal Lawsuit
An official personal injury case begins when a private party (also known as the “plaintiff”) files a civl complaint against another party, which can be an individual, business, or government agency (also known as the “defendant”). The civil complaint alleges that the defendant acted in a careless or irresponsible way that resulted in the plaintiff’s injury. This is commonly known as filing a lawsuit.
The middle place between informal settlement and filing a lawsuit are alternative dispute resolution options such as arbitration and mediation. People often use these options when they’re concerned about the time constraints and legal costs involved in filing a lawsuit, but they still want intervention in settling their personal injury case. Arbitration involves both parties presenting their case to a neutral third party, who then renders a decision.
Reaching An Informal Settlement
The most common option for settling personal injury cases doesn’t involve litigation. The two parties settle the dispute among their insurers and attorneys. Typically, the settlement involves a negotiation followed by a written agreement in which both sides state that they will not seek any further action (such as a lawsuit). They then settle on an amount of money that both parties can agree to.
What Gets Compensated?
Most of the time, personal injury cases are “compensatory,” meaning that the aim to for the injured party to receive compensation for their injury. The awarded amount is meant to help the plaintiff get their life on track again by getting them as close to the way of life they had before the injury as possible.
Here are some common types of damages compensated in personal injury cases:
Medical treatment. Personal injury compensation most often includes medical care costs that arise because of the injury. It can also include reimbursement of the money you’ve spent for treatment you’ve already received.
Income. If your injuries have impacted your ability to make money for yourself, such as through your job or running a business, you might be entitled to compensation for your income. Legally, this is known as “loss of earning capacity.” This includes income you’ve lost since the accident and also for the money you would lose in the future because of the accident.
Property loss. If any items such as your car, electronics, or other items were damaged due to the accident, you could receive compensation at the fair market value to replace them.
Pain and suffering. Any serious pain or discomfort, or psychological suffering that you experience during the accident may be up for compensation.
Emotional distress. This includes any anxiety, fear, or sleep loss that comes about because of the accident. Some states include emotional distress with pain and suffering damages.
Loss of enjoyment. This is compensation for when you can no longer enjoy the things that made you happy, such as bike-riding, swimming, or other hobbies.
Do I Have a Case?
If you think you may have a personal injury case, you will need to consult with a personal injury attorney Los Angeles so that they can under the facts and see how your case would play out if you have one. Contact us for a consultation to see if you have a personal injury case.