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Personal Injury Law Rights

Potential for Settlement, Knowing your Rights and How to Pursue a Claim

Are lawsuits settled before trial?
Yes, lawsuits are often settled before trial. A settlement is an agreement to stop a lawsuit in exchange for something, usually money. A settlement offer can come at anytime, from moments after the injury to moments before the verdict in a trial. When you are in the process of determining your chances in a case, your lawyer will detail the probable range of outcomes and the range of acceptable settlements which they feel you should accept. If you agree to accept a settlement, you will be required to sign an agreement which states that you will absolve the other party of all further liability in this particular case. It is your decision to make. The lawyer cannot make it for you and can only provide you with the information you need to make that decision. Remember that whenever a case goes to trial, there is no guarantee that you will receive anything. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

Injured in an Auto Accident: Pursuing a Claim
The procedures involved in filing a personal injury lawsuit start at the scene of the personal injury. No matter where it occurs, you need to record the names and phone numbers of witnesses. If anyone has a camera on the scene and is taking photographs or videos, be sure to get their name and number and ask for copies. If you are too injured to accomplish these tasks, be sure to get a copy of the police report. Don't forget to contact your insurance agent. And immediately contact a lawyer to protect your rights. If the lawyer feels there is a case, they will inform the negligent party, or their insurance company, that you are being represented by their firm. You will get medical treatment until you stabilize and are released by a physician. The negligent party or their insurance company will make an offer. There will be counter offers. If nothing works out, the matter will go to trial. Both sides will attempt to prove their case. If you win, you may be awarded damages. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

Injured in an Auto Accident: What are my rights?
Protecting your rights is crucial to the full recovery of your losses. Paying for your medical bills and recovering lost wages may be impossible if you sign away your rights! You have the right to ask someone who is negligent to pay for any damages that their negligence may cause. Your rights are limited primarily by the statute of limitations in each state. How long you have may vary considerably and if you let this period lapse, you may be unable to recover anything. Therefore it is important to seek expert advice as soon as possible. The longer you wait the more difficult it may be to recover damages. The statutes of limitations for medical malpractice cases are determined by state laws. No matter what your case, you should consult an expert before giving up your right to collect damages for a negligent act. Why should you pay for their actions? The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

Types of Personal Injury Claims 

What damages can I recover?
There are two basic types of damages which are related to personal injury suits, punitive and compensatory damages. If you prove your case, you are generally awarded damages by the judge or a jury for your actual losses and past and projected medical costs. These are called compensatory damages. You may be compensated for loss of wages, pain and suffering and loss of consortium as well. The amount you receive will be determined by many factors. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded when the act which injured you proves to be intentional. These types of awards are not frequently assessed but are assessed in order to punish the party that was negligent and to protect the general public from these extremely bad actors and acts. Most often they are assessed against corporations which the court finds to have acted recklessly or against the public interest. By making the corporation pay these sums, the court sends a message that the egregious conduct should not happen again and therefore attempts to protect the general public by deterring others from engaging in the wrongful conduct in the future. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

What if I was injured at a hotel/motel?
A hotel has the same duty to maintain a higher standard of care as the common carrier. The law holds that mass transit companies like the airlines and bus companies, because of the numerous lives they have in their hands every day, must take special care. The laws governing the duties of the hotel include special safety signage which tells the patron where the fire exits can be found and advises them not to use the elevators in the case of fire. Structural issues must be addressed. If an elevated walkway can be expected to be full of people on certain nights, then the hotel must make sure that the walkway can hold the weight. If you are injured while staying at a hotel and believe that the hotel was negligent, you should contact an attorney. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

Who do I sue for a slip & fall?
The slip and fall accident is a very common mishap found in all climates. Typically, the slip and fall comes as a result of ice or snow buildup on a sidewalk. A pedestrian slips, falls and breaks a bone or sustains a severe muscle tear or other injury. In order to sue for the “slip and fall” it must be determined who owns and maintains the sidewalk. If it is owned by the city or town, they may be protected from suits. If not, then they may be held liable for not maintaining the sidewalk and may have to pay damages. Slip and fall may occur on someone else's property. Slipping on a freshly mopped floor, may be cause for a suit. The homeowner will usually rely upon their homeowner's insurance to protect them from the financial loss. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

Can I recover for emotional distress?
It is very difficult to recover damages for emotional distress. One rare type of case would involve a hospital calling you after a relative had checked in and then informing you that your relative had passed away when they were obviously alive. You might be devastated, emotionally wrecked, but while it may be possible to recover damages, it is a slim chance at best. These days, the courts tend to hold that actual injuries must be inflicted before emotional distress can be factored into the personal injury equation. As you know, there are any number of emotional injuries we all suffer throughout our lives for which we generally do not seek monetary compensation. The little knocks and bruises of life are par for the course. However, if it can be shown that someone intentionally caused emotional distress, you may have a case. If you are unsure about your emotional distress case, contact a professional. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

Do I have a claim for false imprisonment?
False imprisonment involves the unwilling detention of anyone without due process or just cause. If you are in a store and you are stopped by the store detective under suspicion of shoplifting, they do have the right to detain you until the authorities arrive. If they have no actual evidence that a crime was committed, and they hold you without calling the authorities, you may have a case of false imprisonment. Other cases of false imprisonment may include voluntarily checking into a hospital and then finding that you are not allowed to leave. This could include a nursing home as well. While they may claim that they were only looking after your interests, if they feel that your release would truly be harmful to you, they must detain you through proper due process. If you feel you were falsely imprisoned, contact an attorney. The information contained in this message is general and should not substitute for the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney.

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