If you’re considering a personal injury claim, you will face a time-consuming process. Not to mention it can be complicated and confusing. An experienced lawyer can help you and most important, explain you the whole process so you won’t feel any additional stress. There are some necessary steps, but the unique factors of each case can impact each step. Still, we will sum up the process of some more basic steps that may happen during the claim process!
Consult with an attorney!
The first step is to determine if you have a valid claim, the types of damages you may be entitled to, the extent and severity of your injuries, and your legal options. The statute of limitations in Arizona is two years. Therefore, the period is two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
Investigating your claim!
Before you go any further, the legal team should investigate your claim. Angkor’s, after you hire an attorney. The investigation process can include medical records, cell phone records, police reports, the accident scene, witness testimony, etc. Depending on the type of case, the legal team may also need to talk to expert witnesses, even accident reconstructionist.
Filing a Demand
After the process of gathering the evidence, your attorney will file a demand for a settlement. The demand letter will explain your case, including liability and damages you, the plaintiff is demanding. The defendant will review the letter – it can be rejected or denied, or there could be a counteroffer!
Filling a lawsuit
If your injury lawsuit cannot be settled, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. The discovery phase begins after a lawsuit has been filed. Both parties will obtain evidence from each other and evaluate how is case build on both sides. It will also determine how will the situation be treated and prepared on trial.
Mediation or trial
Keep in mind that most cases are settled before trial. However, at any point in the personal injury claim process, the parties can resolve. This means that the case can be settled just before the case goes to trial.
Arbitration or Trial
Arbitration is considered a type of alternative dispute resolution taken outside of court. It’s not formal as a trial. Instead of presenting a case to judge, the parties dispute in the form of an arbitrator-who is a non-partisan third-party. Depending on the type of a claim you have, arbitration may be required. Arbitration clauses can be found in some agreements, like a nursing home or cell phone contact.
If you don’t go thru arbitration, mediation may be completed before the trial. Both parties will avoid going to trial in the attempt of mediation. During the process, your attorney will work on your behalf for a fair settlement. If the process of mediation doesn’t result in an agreement, then, the next phase is trial. During this process, a jury or a judge will evaluate the facts, and determine fault, and award if they rule in favor of the personal injury victim. Trials can be expensive and time-consuming, which is why many cases are settled before the trial.
Product- What you need to know
Once the product is already in the marketplace, there’s an expectation that the item is free of defect and safe to use. However, in some cases, compounds, devices, and systems are insufficiently tested. Product liability is an area of the law that deals with problems once the product Is in the marketplace and some harm is done.
Understanding Product Liability Lawsuits
Product liability involves wrongful action and hazards toward the everyday user, explicitly done by producers and manufacturers. There are no federal product liability laws. The lawsuits are based on state laws that deal with strict liability, negligence or breach of warranty. State commercial statutes can be applied in product liability cases.
Liability for an injury caused by a product does not apply to the manufacturer of the product. The production chain(distribution of the product) can be helped liable, such as the manufacturer of parts of the product, the company that installs or assembles the product, as well as retail outlets. It depends on the distribution chain type and the product. This standard applies to anyone who is involved in producing the product in the ordinary course of business.
Types of Defects
These are three basic types of defects that may be involved in a liability case:
- Design defects- this problem occurs when there are errors in the final design of a product that should have been changed in the initial steps of creating it
- Manufacturing defects- This condition occurs during the manufacturing or assembly process
- Marketing defects- Insufficient safety warnings, improper labeling or inadequate instructions may have caused an injury or death.
Determining responsibility for the Injury
There is a legal doctrine “Res ipsa loquitur” which means “the thing speaks for itself,” meaning that the product would not have caused an injury except for the actions of the user. Manufactures is often required to defend itself against a liability claim, but attorneys can also turn responsibility onto the plaintiff in the case. That means in this case that the plaintiff is required to defend his or her actions in the product incident.
Breach of Warranty
A warranty is either “express” or “implied” and is used to denote promises made by the manufacturer. Express warranties include wording used in marketing, packaging or instructional materials included with the product. An implied warranty is used to denote the reasonable expectations of an individual purchasing the product.
It can imply failure of action in design, the composition of elements(materials) the manufacturing process, in testing or in communication regarding its safe use. Any aspect that affects the product’s safety can be considered negligence.
Requirements for a Product Liability Lawsuit
These are specific actions that can affect the outcome for the injured party. To file successful product liability, you need :
- Stop using the product immediately
- Save the product
- Consult a physician and give information about the product that causes it
- Retain all packing supplied with the product
- Gather witnesses
- Research your state’s statute of limitations on product liability cases and other requirements
- Consult with an experienced attorney
Mass Transit Personal Injuries
The number one serious cause of injuries and deaths is always going to be transit related. Year after year, the statistics for transit-related casualties rank high, with hundreds affected in the United States along last year. This of course includes all types of mass transportation: taxis, buses, ferries, subways, and trains. Each accident case has several factors playing into it, therefore it takes careful delegacy to handle them.
Sure, the state and federal laws regulate most public carriers very closely with laws that hold carriers to a very high obligation of care to their passengers.
These laws force common carriers to take special measures in avoiding injuries to passengers:
All entryways and exits are open and safe
Security is provided where necessary
Qualified personnel operating the vehicles
Vehicles are maintained and up to code
But with millions of average people using them at daily, anything can happen. Think of how many hundreds of people utilize the subway system in New York City alone every day, let alone the bus and taxi systems in that same city? Each citizen places trust in their transit and needs to feel safe. But once an accident happens, all that trust and feeling of safety can be forgotten. This can have lasting effects on someone who’s been in a transit accident, and they need someone to help fight for what is owed to them.
If you or your loved ones have ever been injured in a mass transit accident, you want to seek an experienced personal injury attorney who will fight to protect your rights and pursue compensation for what you endured. Most mass transit systems are operated by governmental agencies and require special care when taking them to court. You wouldn’t walk into something you’re not prepared for, so why not prepare yourself with an attorney who knows how to save you?
Social Media’s Evidence Role in Personal Injury Cases
Social media has changed the way society functions in everyday life; many individuals feel the need to snap that morning picture of their breakfast on Instagram or follow whatever their favorite celebrity is doing on Twitter, but social media has also changed the game for defense lawyers when it comes to digging for evidence. A large amount of social media users fail to realize that someone else, besides friends and followers, can be viewed all their content to use against them.
It doesn’t matter what you think your privacy settings are set to or how you ‘know’ who your followers are; if you’re in the process of a personal injury claim there is still good ol’ word-of-mouth that can throw all of the work that you’ve done away in moments.
This doesn’t mean you need to live like a hermit and shut yourself off from the world during a personal injury claim. Just remember that every action you take, whether in the real world or online, can have long-lasting consequences. Anything can be used against you even if it isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s always wise to keep a low profile and be mindful of what you post until your claim is determined.
Try to keep these tips in mind during a personal injury claim process:
Make No Statements
– Do not discuss your personal injury case or the situation in which it happened on any social media platform.
Think Twice Before Posting
– Always think of the possible outcomes that could come from anything you post on your social media. No matter how unrelated to the case it may be, it can be:
- Misconstrued – whether or not you believe you are clearly explaining your case, what you say can be easily intentionally misunderstood and presented in a light that is harmful to your case.
- Taken out of context – similarly to the above-mentioned issue with posting on social media, what you write on social media can be readily taken out of context. With a bit of a trim here and a bit of an edit there, your internet tirade against the party that injured you will rapidly turn against you and harm your case.
- Used against you – This should go without saying. Everything you say can and will be used against you doesn’t just apply to word of mouth; it includes your social media diatribes.
It’s Not Just About You
– Every case isn’t just about just the plaintiff and the defendant. Everybody in your life and theirs is roped in, including friends, family, neighbors, witnesses/community, your best friends, that one-second cousin who follows you on snapchat that you haven’t seen in years. Anyone can be a part of this case.
Types of Personal Injury
Different kinds of situations can give rise to personal injury lawsuits. One party’s intentional or negligent act may harm another party. However, not every case where a person has sustained injury will lead to liability. Personal injury law allows an injured individual the opportunity to press charges and get compensation. Here are common types of personal injury cases:
Auto Accident Cases
Auto accidents give rise to the majority of personal injury lawsuits in the United States. 2016 data estimates that almost 40,000 people lost their lives in auto accidents. Usually, these accidents occur because a person does not follow the rules or has not been driving as carefully as they should.
A careless driver may be liable and held financially responsible for injuries that occur during the accident. In some “no faults” states, drivers collect from their insurance companies except in cases where the injury is severe.
If a medical professional or such other health care professional fails to provide reasonably skilled care, a patient may suffer harm. A medical malpractice claim can arise, and the patient may receive compensation. Medical malpractice cases can be complex; it is best if a person hires a lawyer for representation.
Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe and free of hazards. People who slip or fall and sustain injuries while legally on the property may sue the owner. But not all injuries occurring on the property may lead to liability.
The nature of duty a property owner or landowner has may be different in each situation. The law in the state where the injury happens determines the exact nature of a property owner’s duty. Slip and fall lawsuits are based on premises liability laws.
Most of the time, the owner of an animal such as a dog that bites and injures another person is financially responsible for such personal injury. The exact laws involved may vary from state to state. Sometimes, strict liability rules will apply even if the animal’s owner argues that their dog has not shown aggression in the past.
Some states have “one bite” rules — the dog owner only becomes liable if they ought to have known their dog was likely to bite. Such a law would apply where the dog has a history of bites.
Dangerous or defective products can harm consumers. A person who buys a product that fails to perform to expectation but causes no harm is not likely to succeed if they sue. Warranty will usually resolve such an issue. The consumer may also have the option to return such a product and get a refund. But a person who has sustained an injury after using a defective product may have a personal injury claim.
Personal injury cases can be complicated. It is advisable that an injured party uses the services of a competent lawyer. Experienced lawyers have dealt with different types of personal injury lawsuits. Such lawyers focus on winning their clients the best possible outcome in their specific situations.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Seeking legal assistance is one of the most important things you think of following an accident. This is because you need to understand what your rights are especially if the accident was not your fault. Although it is possible to make a claim without involving an attorney, it is not wise to do so. Below is a rundown of reasons why it is important to hire a personal injury lawyer.
1. Insurance Companies are Wily
When you are looking for compensation for an accident, insurance companies are not on your side. Their aim is not to help you, but rather to pay as little compensation as possible. Hiring a personal injury lawyer will help seal the loopholes insurance companies may exploit to deny you the compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney will also be in a position to easily identify and uncover the shenanigans associated with insurance companies to ensure that your claim is honored.
2. Minimize Stress
Once you have been involved in an accident, the most important thing for you is a conducive environment to support your healing process. It is not the best time for you to be personally involved a battle with your insurance company. By getting a personal injury lawyer, you can rest assured that you have a person to fight for you. This will reduce your stress and give you ample time to recover from your injuries.
3. Know how Much Compensation you are Entitled
The process of making an insurance claim begins with understanding how much you are entitled to get. Although tools such as personal injury calculators can help you to get a rough estimate of your claim, they might not give you an accurate figure of the value of your settlement. It is imperative to understand that getting a high compensation involves more than just running numbers in a computer program. Indeed, it calls for a proper understanding of the subtleties of your specific case. An attorney will help you analyze your injury in addition to putting figures on your pain and suffering to get an accurate figure of how much compensation you are entitled to.
4. Personal Injury Lawyers are motivated to Win
In most cases, personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that you will only have to pay them once your insurance claim has been settled. This is particularly important because you will have a person who has experience working against insurance companies, motivated to fight for you to get the highest possible compensation. In addition, a personal injury lawyer will also be motivated to help you get your settlement quickly because you will only pay him/her once your claim has been settled.
5. An Attorney Can Take Your Case to Trial
In most cases instances, personal injury cases don’t go to trial. That does not mean that yours may not end up in court. In the unlikely event that your personal injury case ends in court, having an attorney will help you ensure that your rights are protected. Even if your court does not end up in court, having a lawyer can go a long in demonstrating to the insurance company that you are ready for such an eventuality, which will motivate it to settle your claim without a lot of opposition.
Overall, it is apparent that inasmuch as it is possible to pursue a personal injury compensation claim on your own, getting the maximum compensation is not always a walk in the park. The insurance companies will not necessarily be on your side since they aim to pay as little as possible. Getting an experienced personal injury lawyer will go a long way in ensuring that you get the compensation that you deserve.
What To Ask Your Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident, at work, or any other incident involving two or more parties, it is vital that you hire a good personal injury attorney to represent your case as you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. This attorney will help you understand the legal ins and outs of your situation, advising you as to what your best option will be and what your odds of recovering are. Knowing the importance of the role your attorney will play, what can you do to ascertain whether or not you’ve found the best personal injury attorney possible? Here’s a list of the ten questions to ask a prospective lawyer before hiring him or her and why.
- Which areas of law does the attorney specialize in? This is an important question to ask, as many lawyers claim to work in personal injury, but may or may not do it on a consistent enough basis to warrant you offering them your case.
- Has the attorney ever had a case with details similar to your own? If so, how many?
- Has the attorney taken any other personal injury cases to court and what were the results? Knowing this will help you to understand what you may expect at the end of the arduous process.
- How long, on average, does it take the attorney to wrap up a case such as your own? The longer the process, the lighter your wallet becomes. Be sure the attorney will make the time to pursue the results you desire in a timely manner.
- Will you be able to speak with the attorney directly throughout the process? Watch out for lawyers who send a paralegal to the initial consultation instead of attending it themselves.
- How many other cases does the attorney currently have on his or her plate? Knowing this will allow you to discern whether or not the attorney will have time to focus on keeping the ball rolling for your case.
- If you are not satisfied with the settlement offer from the insurance company, will this attorney personally file a claim and take it to trial, or leave it up to someone else?
- Are there any past clients that you could speak with about their satisfaction levels?
- Has this attorney ever been suspended from practicing law, and if so, why? This one seems pretty self-explanatory.
- What is the contingency fee?
While asking all of these questions during the hunt for a lawyer might seem a bit overwhelming at first, it is far better to ask these up front than to realize during the process that you should have started with the questions from the beginning.
How To Avoid Motorcycle Accidents
Driving on the road with drivers who prefer motorcycles can be a nerve wrecking experience. Choosing to ride a motorcycle comes with safety precautions you’ll want to take too. It is important to know and understand how to avoid accidents and to be a safe driver for both you and others on the road. Sometimes what seems common is not so common knowledge, so let’s break it down what healthy driving habits you can create to avoid unnecessary accidents.
Wear safety gear/bright, reflective colors: This helps you to feel more comfortable and also to let others have an easier time seeing you. The reflection of a bright color might catch someone’s eye that might have not otherwise seen you. Drivers, you will want to make sure you are aware of your surroundings and looking out for colors/indications of a motorists sharing the road with you.
Be weary of left turns: Depth perception plays a huge role in gauging what someone else’s speed is. It is often that a driver will turn left with no enough time for the second driver to not have to decrease their own speed. See the signs and intentions of the other driver’s next move or turn.
Check your speeds: Turning corners. This also goes for looking and knowing what the road conditions are like with making turns. Driving safe speeds will allow for reaction times, and the ability to make a different decision when something comes up.
Be aware when changing lanes: Know your blind spots and how to effectively spend as little time as possible in them. It’s not enough to look in your rearview mirrors, you need to also look behind you, and signal when you change lanes. Can not stress this enough, because if you change lanes into someone, it could be life threatening. An extra minute of making sure it’s safe to make the change makes a huge possibly years difference for the outcome. If you can not take the extra minute, don’t risk it.
Do not drink intoxicated: This goes for any and all driving and accidents. Drinking or doing drugs and deciding to drive is always a bad decision. It may not be each time you hit the roads that an accident will occur. You might have already driven under the influence and feel as though you had a fine experience. It only takes one time, and doing anything mind altering could create an incident that you will wish was avoided.
(For riders) Do not zig zag through traffic: There’s an impulse that because riding a motorcycle gives you flexibility to drive through the cars in multiple lanes, that you are able to do so safely. You might even actually be able to do so safely, but you can not account for the actions of others who do not see you. If you are driving alone on a road, or if you are practicing somewhere isolated and out of danger, you are free to get wild; don’t do it on the road. This is highly dangerous and should be avoided.
The road can create illusions of safety because you are either on a motorcycle and feel as though you can escape harm’s way easily, or you are in a car/truck and feel as though it will protect you from any potentials; but do not bet your life on it. Be safe and take the extra precautions to make sure that you do not put yourself or others in harm’s way. If something happens, know who to look to, seek the professionals at Schenk Podolsky Attorneys At Law who can save you further worry.
Dealing With Trauma After a Car Accident
Enduring a car accident can be particularly traumatic, and it’s about more than just the physical damage to your car. Because car accidents leave many feeling shocked, it’s a good idea to have a plan ahead of time for how to deal with a car accident.
What Should You Do Immediately Following a Relatively Minor Accident?
A major accident with multiple vehicles or where someone is seriously injured must be dealt with a bit differently, but here is a plan for dealing with a relatively minor accident:
- Move your vehicle to a safe area like the shoulder of the road, if possible. If you cannot move your vehicle, turn on your flashing hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Get out of your vehicle when safe.
- Check on any parties involved—other drivers, passengers and any pedestrians—to make sure everyone is safe. Immediately call 911 if anyone appears to be injured.
- Call law enforcement and make a report.
- Do not admit fault. Ever. Even if you believe yourself to be at fault, do not admit it or even hint at it. It is the job of the authorities to determine fault. Gather any relevant information, including:
- The names of the other driver(s) and any passengers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Make and model of any vehicles involved
- Contact information for any witnesses
- The name and badge number of any law enforcement officers who respond to the scene
- Document anything you can using the camera on your smart phone
Of course, in the event of a more serious accident, you should immediately call 911, then perform the above steps if feasible.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
What Else Should You Do After an Accident?
You should seek medical attention, even if you do not believe yourself to be injured.
Even a minor accident can cause injuries, like whiplash, which you may not be aware of until later. This means that even if you think you are fine, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention following a car accident. Calling an ambulance may not be necessary, but you should call your primary care physician or go to an urgent care clinic to be checked out. Sometimes when people are in shock following a car accident, their brains do not immediately process injuries. This is why it is a good idea to consult a physician, even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured. The physical effects of a car accident can be devastating, and months of pain and rehabilitation resulting from an accident may result in reduced productivity and an inability to fully participate in life.
What Should You Do after You’ve Seen a Doctor?
Finally, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation, especially if your physician determines that you have been injured or if the authorities determine that you are at fault.
If you are in physical pain resulting from another driver’s being at fault, then you may be entitled to the other party’s insurance covering your medical bills. Without proper representation, you may feel pressured by the insurance company into a settlement that is really not in your best interest. If you are determined to be at fault, you may feel pressured to settle for more than what the law actually requires. Surrounding yourself with the right legal team is a way to protect your rights and make sure you receive what you are entitled to under the law. This makes legal representation essential.
Enduring a car accident can be upsetting and stressful, even if it’s just a minor accident. Because you will likely be under extreme stress and possibly not thinking clearly, it’s helpful to have a plan before hand, a plan that involves seeking medical attention and legal support.