Sometimes people are injured in accidents caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentionally hurtful actions of others. When a person or entity’s conduct causes harm to others, the injured victims may be able to achieve recompense with the help of a personal injury attorney. With the help of a personal injury attorney, the plaintiffs may succeed in holding the wrongful actors accountable for their actions while also recovering monetary damages so that they can be compensated for their losses.
What Is a Personal Injury Attorney?
A personal injury attorney focuses their legal practice in the area of tort law. Torts are wrongful or negligent actions that cause harm and that may lead to the liability of the wrongdoers in civil court. A personal injury attorney might help clients by negotiating with insurance companies and other attorneys to try to secure reasonable settlements for the clients. Lawyers may also use investigators, accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and other valuable resources to help build their clients’ cases. An attorney’s goal is to help his or her client secure the maximum possible compensation. If the insurance companies are unwilling to extend reasonable offers, attorneys may litigate their clients’ matters before juries at trials.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Personal injury lawsuits are civil cases, and they may be filed against negligent or wrongful actors whose conduct has resulted in harm to others even if those defendants have also been criminally charged. Because personal injury lawsuits are civil matters, they carry a lower burden of proof than criminal cases. In a civil case, the plaintiff carries the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower burden than a criminal prosecutor’s burden to prove his or her case beyond a reasonable doubt. If criminal charges were also filed against the defendant, this makes it possible for the plaintiff to win a personal injury lawsuit even if the defendant is found not guilty in a corollary criminal proceeding.
What Happens in Personal Injury Cases?
In some cases, a personal injury attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement without needing to file a formal lawsuit. However, when an insurance company disputes liability or makes settlement offers that are unreasonable, it may be necessary to file a formal lawsuit.
To commence the lawsuit, your attorney will file a civil complaint with the court that has jurisdiction. The complaint names the defendants of the lawsuit and all of the legal claims that the plaintiffs are alleging against the defendants. After the complaints are filed and properly served on the defendants, the defendants have a limited period of time to file their answers to the complaints. Some defendants will file motions for summary judgment, which are motions that argue that the plaintiffs do not have legally valid claims for a lawsuit. If this motion is granted after a hearing, the case will be dismissed. If it is denied, the court will set different discovery deadlines that both sides must meet.
During discovery, both sides must give each other all of the evidence on which they are relying. The attorneys may send interrogatories, which are written questions that must be answered truthfully by set deadlines. Depositions of witnesses, the plaintiffs, and the defendants may also be scheduled. These are hearings that are held under oath but outside of court. During a deposition, witnesses testify and are cross-examined, and transcripts of the testimony are prepared. Throughout the discovery process, there are multiple deadlines that must be met, and negotiations normally will continue. If a settlement is not reached, the case will proceed to a trial before the court or before a jury. After the jury returns its verdict, the defendant or the plaintiff may appeal the verdict.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims may be filed for unintentional torts involving allegations of negligence or for intentional torts involving allegations of intentional acts. Intentional torts are less common and may include civil assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and others.
A majority of the claims handled by personal injury attorneys involve unintentional torts. These may include motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall cases, premises liability claims, injured passenger claims, child-related claims, alcohol-related injuries, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction site accidents, and road paving accidents. Personal injury claims may also involve medical malpractice claims and product liability claims.
No matter what type of personal injury claim you have, you must prove that the defendant owed a legal duty that he or she violated. You will also need to show that the defendant’s breach of that duty led to the accident or incident that caused your injury and that you were harmed as a result. Serious personal injury accidents can permanently alter the quality of your life. Some people suffer irreversible disabilities and have permanently reduced capacities to earn income. The goals of personal injury lawsuits are to hold the defendants accountable for what happened while also making the plaintiffs feel whole again.
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the actions of another person or entity, obtain a free case review with the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today to learn more about your rights. We can help you pursue justice, compensation, and peace of mind.