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5 Things to Know About Your Personal Injury Claim

When you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you might experience several varieties of pain. There’s the physical pain that interrupts your daily life, but also the emotional pain of being saddled with an injury that was caused by someone else.

Although you may not be able to reverse the effects of your injuries entirely, you can obtain some relief through a personal injury lawsuit. Before you file one, though, there are some things you should know.

1. Not Every Injury Qualifies as a Personal Injury

The term “personal injury” does not apply to any injury that involves damage to your body. You can’t sue anyone if you break your arm falling out of a tree on your property. But if you broke your arm falling out of a tree on your neighbor’s property, and your neighbor had assured you it was safe to climb, you might be entitled to a settlement.

The basic definition of a personal injury is an injury attributable to an incident for which someone else was legally responsible. Here are some examples of personal injuries that might be entitled to a settlement:

  • Car collision that’s the fault of another driver
  • Slip on an unmarked wet floor in a store
  • Fall down the stairs at a hotel because of a loose floorboard
  • Dog bite
  • Wrongful death in a work situation
  • Accident caused by unsafe premises at work

Basically, if you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to a personal injury award.

2. You’ll Want a Lawyer

You may need to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to cover the medical costs and diminished life activity due to your injury, and a lawyer can help you get this. If you try to go into a personal injury suit without an experienced attorney at your side, you might lack the evidence and knowledge necessary to win the case.

You might also get less than you deserve because you didn’t have someone experienced fighting for you. Moreover, you’ll probably suffer a lot of stress and pain during your recovery. It’s much easier to hand over the matter to someone who can fight with full knowledge and energy.

3. The Case Can Be Long

Every case is different, so it’s hard to offer a certain timeline for a personal injury case. Some cases will take longer than others. You might settle within a few months or it might take years.

It can be tempting to accept the first offer, especially if you’re taking time off work or you have mounting medical bills. But you should heed the advice of your attorney. Often, you can wait it out for a higher amount, which could be worth it even if you won’t get paid for several months to a year longer.

4. Most Lawyers Accept a Contingent Fee

Don’t waste your time with a lawyer who wants payment up front. Most attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means they won’t take payment until you receive your settlement. They understand that you’re struggling with medical bills and/or time off work, so you may not be able to spare the funds to pay them immediately.

5. Payout Varies

The payout amount will vary, of course. One person may receive $1 million after a workplace accident, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same.

The judge and jury, if one sits on your case, will evaluate the evidence and situation and give you what they think you deserve. The lawyers will usually debate factors such as past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, property damage, loss of earnings, funeral and burial expenses (if applicable), and costs for an altered way of life as well as the severity of the injury.

If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence or oversight, you need adequate financial compensation to address your expenses and the pain and suffering. You shouldn’t feel guilty for pursuing a personal injury complaint, and if you have a solid lawyer on your side, it will be worth it in the end.