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Personal Injury Law Is More Complex Than You Think

I always assumed that personal injury cases where pretty straight forward. After being in an accident, any financial losses that you suffered would be reimbursed by the liable party's insurance company. Unfortunately, things only work this way in a perfect world. In the real world, personal injury cases are extremely complex and getting the insurance company to pay a fair settlement requires the expertise of an experienced injury lawyer. Unfortunately, it took me several months to finally seek out the legal assistance I needed. As a result, I waited much longer than necessary to get the compensation I so desperately needed. During this time, I learned more about personal injury law than I ever thought I would. It is my hope that this blog will allow me to share that knowledge with you so that you can avoid making some of the same mistakes that I did.

Personal Injury Law Is More Complex Than You Think

An Introduction To Personal Injury And Wrongful Death Lawsuits

by Christine Wagner

Two of the most common civil lawsuits are personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. In the future, you might need to file (or be otherwise involved in) one of the two, which means that you should have some basic knowledge about here. Here is an introduction that will give you a good idea of how each work:  

Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you were in a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, used a defective product, or were a victim of a crime, then you will probably want to file a personal injury lawsuit. Such a lawsuit can award you quite a bit in damages, to cover your medical costs, loss of property, and potentially even for stress and suffering. On top of the categories listed above, medical negligence cases fall under the category of personal injury lawsuits.

Depending on the state in which you are filing the lawsuit, there are different statutes of limitations. Most require you to file your claim within two years, but there is considerable variance. Some circumstances do allow for leeway, such as the belated discovery of damage (for instance, experiencing the harmful effect of a chemical years after exposure).

In many cases, personal injury lawsuits don't go through the entire legal process, or don't even go to court at all. Instead, they are settled, which means that the defendant awards a substantial amount of money to the plaintiff (you) in exchange for the dropping of the lawsuit. While the settlement will likely be less than what you are asking for in court, it does guarantee that you get some money, whereas you might lose the lawsuit and get nothing.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful death lawsuits work similarly to personal injury lawsuits, but there are a couple of differences.

Wrongful death lawsuits have some laws regarding who can and cannot file the lawsuit. Children and spouses can almost always file, while other dependents and parents might be able to file, depending on the circumstances.

Not all deaths can qualify as wrongful death lawsuits, but many can. If you suspect that you have a case, you should talk to a wrongful death attorney to get a better idea of how much money you stand to gain. Funeral and medical bills can be quite high, and those damages are usually the first to be awarded in any wrongful death lawsuit.

Like with personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a specific time frame. However, the statute can be much shorter than personal injury lawsuits and is as little as one year in certain states. Also like personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death cases are often settled out of court.