When you have a serious legal need, you need the right kind of attorney for the job. In many cases, that means turning to an attorney specializing in the type of law you need to deal with. You may wonder what kind of cases each type of lawyer handles, including what type of claim personal injury lawyers usually handle.
Personal Injury Law: An Overview
Personal injury lawyers, in general, deal with claims in which one party’s negligence caused injury to another party. Negligence may include failing to take care of a property that leads to someone else’s injuries or actions that might place the other party in danger.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
You may have the right to file an injury claim any time someone else’s negligence causes a serious injury. However, many injury claims break down into common categories. These types of cases are:
Many personal injury lawyers will take on the difficult negotiations that often arise after a damaging car accident. Car accidents often occur because of negligence on the part of another driver. Frequently, car accidents result in severe injuries, including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and multiple broken bones. After a car accident, a lawyer will help investigate all the causes, including who likely caused the accident and what compensation you might deserve for any injuries you sustained.
Big truck accidents can often involve a complex investigation into the conditions that caused the accident. While the truck driver may bear primary liability for any decision that he makes while behind the wheel of the truck, in some cases, additional factors may contribute to a truck accident.
In fact, the driver may often share liability with the trucking company due to the trucking company’s negligent maintenance of the truck or negligent policies that can raise the risk of a severe accident. Truck accident victims may need to work closely with a lawyer to identify all liable parties and look at all evidence related to the claim.
Motorcycle riders often have relatively little protection from the road around them or a vehicle that strikes them. As a result, motorcycle riders may suffer considerable injuries, including spinal cord injuries or potential limb amputation.
Often, insurance companies have an intrinsic bias against motorcycle riders that can cause them to try to place liability for the accident on the motorcycle rider, even when other factors may have contributed substantially to the accident. A personal injury lawyer can help establish that another party caused the accident and provide the evidence necessary to help the motorcycle accident victim move forward with an injury claim.
Bicycles must adhere to the same road rules as passenger vehicle drivers, and drivers need to offer the same level of respect to those drivers and bicycles that they do to other vehicles on the road. A bicycle accident can, in some cases, lead to catastrophic injury for the bike rider.
For example, riders may suffer multiple broken bones, severe road rash, or brain injuries. After a bicycle accident, working with an attorney can make it easier to establish exactly who caused the accident and what options the injured party might have for pursuing compensation for those injuries.
When a patient places his care in the hands of a doctor, he expects to receive a high standard of care and medical support. Unfortunately, some medical providers may not provide the standard of care that the patient deserves. In those cases, the patient may end up suffering additional illness or injury due to the doctor’s negligent actions.
Medical malpractice may include everything from failure to properly diagnose or treat a condition based on clear criteria that another physician would reasonably have used to provide a diagnosis and care to never events, which may occur during surgery and include things like operating on the wrong body party or leaving objects behind in the body after surgery. A lawyer can help establish that medical malpractice occurred and fight to help the injured party get the compensation he deserves.
Premises liability accidents, which often include slip and fall accidents, often lead to serious injuries and the need for ongoing medical treatment. A slip and fall accident can result in multiple broken bones, including a broken hip, which could prove incredibly detrimental to elderly patients. In addition, premises liability accidents may include fire safety negligence or failure to maintain the property, resulting in falling objects or serious damage to the visitor.
After a premises liability accident, working with a lawyer can help victims establish who bears liability, including the property owner, the company operating on the property, or a vendor whose negligent actions may have led to the incident.
Animal attacks can cause serious injury and, in many cases, ongoing psychological damage. Many people who have suffered dog attacks suffer from PTSD or anxiety when spending time around dogs in the future. A dog attack may also lead to more serious injury than anticipated, especially if the dog breaks a bone or if the dog’s bite causes a dangerous infection.
A lawyer can help better establish the full damages suffered by the dog bite victim and the compensation the injured party deserves.
A nursing home needs to provide a high standard of care to its residents to ensure that they receive the best possible care during their golden years. In some nursing homes, however, abuse can interfere with that standard of care and further injure the seniors who should receive support in that environment.
Nursing home abuse may include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. In addition, financial abuse could cause serious damage to the senior’s future financial status. Neglect in a nursing home, including failure to help with toilet needs, bathing, or food and drink, can also lead to substantial injury.
A lawyer can help establish who bears liability for the nursing home abuse or neglect and help the injured party or their family pursue compensation for those damages.
Personal Injury Lawyers and Wrongful Death Claims
Personal injury lawyers may, in some cases, also help manage wrongful death claims. Victims’ families may have the right to file a wrongful death claim when a loved one dies due to the negligence of another party. Wrongful death claims work much the same way as personal injury claims but may include other elements.
In general, to file a wrongful death claim, you must have a direct relationship with the individual who died due to someone else’s negligence: the victim’s spouse, children, or parents. In some cases, the victim’s estate may have the right to recover compensation for the victim’s loss. A personal injury attorney can help establish the compensation the family may deserve and who has the right to file the claim.
A family can only file one wrongful death claim per deceased individual, even if the deceased individual has, for example, multiple children who may all have the same right to file a claim. The family will need to decide how they want to handle distributing the funds from a wrongful death claim.
Working with a Lawyer Can Prove Essential
A lawyer can prove essential in many wrongful death claims. In many cases, a lawyer can help collect vital evidence about how the injury occurred. Since you cannot ask the injured individual about the conditions that may have led to the accident, having a lawyer on your side can make it much easier to collect that essential evidence.
Personal Injury Lawyers and Workplace Accidents
Workplace accidents may work a little differently than the average personal injury claim. When you suffer an injury at work, you will usually file a workers’ compensation claim.
A workers’ comp claim may provide:
- Payment of approximately 2/3 of your usual income during your recovery
- Direct payment of your medical expenses
In addition, you may, in some cases, get a lump sum payout from a workers’ comp claim.
Unlike a personal injury claim, workers’ compensation does not rely on proving liability for an accident. Instead, it simply requires that you show that the injury occurred at work. Many accident victims struggle with workers’ comp to get the full compensation they deserve, especially if the company tries to claim that the worker’s injury occurred at another time.
A lawyer can help fight to get the full compensation the injured worker deserves. In addition, a lawyer can help determine whether an outside party may bear direct liability for workplace injuries.
What Criteria Does a Lawyer Look at When Evaluating a Case?
Most lawyers will accept a wide range of personal injury claims. However, a lawyer may look at several key factors before deciding whether to accept a particular client and the client’s case.
Can the Lawyer Add Value to the Claim?
A lawyer may start with a look at whether the firm can add value to the claim. If the insurance company already offered its max policy value as a settlement, for example, and the lawyer cannot find any immediate loopholes that could increase compensation, the lawyer may not feel that the firm can reasonably offer anything else to the client. As a result, the firm may choose not to accept a particular client. On the other hand, if the lawyer feels the firm can add significant value to the claim, the lawyer will often take the case.
How Much is the Claim Worth?
In some cases, a lawyer may look at how much the victim can expect in compensation before taking a case. Sometimes, the lawyer may not feel that the victim can gain adequate compensation to make a claim worthwhile. Simply working with the insurance company directly can, in some cases, provide the victim with reasonable compensation and help settle the case effectively.
Does the Firm Handle Those Types of Claims?
Some personal injury lawyers may specialize in specific practice areas of law. For example, some personal injury firms may focus heavily on car accident cases and may not handle those claims. Other firms may not feel comfortable handling the complexities of a medical malpractice claim.
Lawyers may decline to take a case that does not fit the firm’s goals and does not reasonably fit within its guidelines.
Does the Firm Have the Resources to Take On the Case?
Sometimes, a lawyer may want to determine whether the firm has the resources to take on a specific claim before committing to a client. The lawyer may want to ensure that the firm has the means to take care of the client's needs and provide a high overall standard of support throughout the case. During very busy periods, some firms may turn down clients for whom they do not feel they can provide adequate support.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Any time you suffer injuries due to the negligence of another party, working with a personal injury lawyer can offer significant advantages.
A lawyer can help review the conditions that led to your accident and collect any evidence that will help establish liability. Furthermore, a lawyer can look closely at your financial losses, then help you pursue the compensation you may deserve. Finally, a lawyer can help fight on your behalf, which may help you maximize your compensation.
Did you suffer serious injuries due to the negligence of another party? Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon after the incident as possible so that you can move forward with an injury claim that will help compensate you for the financial losses that often go along with those injuries.