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What Qualifies as Personal Injury?

How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

Car Accident Attorney Chris Munley speaking to attorneysYou may have seen TV ads, billboards, and more advertising the services of personal injury lawyers, but what exactly what does this term mean? In this article, we’ll explore the meaning of personal injury, and how it may impact you and your life.

Remember: if you or your loved one has been injured in an an accident, you may have a right to compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to discuss your personal injury claim and learn we can help protect your interests.

Understanding Personal Injury

Attorney Marion Munley working at her deskWhile we all try to go about our daily lives safely and responsibly, the reality is that accidents do happen. Often, these accidents — whether that be a car accident, a slip and fall, or something else — can result in an injury. This could be something fairly minor, like a sprained ankle, or something severe, like a traumatic brain injury.

Personal injury claims involve accidents like this. Specifically, personal injury is a legal term referring to any injury that occurs as a result of another person’s negligence.

Anything, from the sprained ankle to the brain injury, can be deserving of compensation. In order to successfully open a personal injury case, the injured party must be able to prove that another party’s actions (or inactions) directly resulted in an accident, which directly resulted in the injury.

What are Examples of Personal Injury Cases?

Personal Injury Attorney John Mulcahey working at his deskPersonal injury cases can take a huge number of forms. Below are some common types of personal injury cases:

  • Car accidents: This is an extremely common type of personal injury claim; in fact, most personal injury claims involve motor vehicle accidents.
  • Slip and falls: A slip and fall claim may be made when, as the name implies, a person slips and/or falls on another person’s property, resulting in injury.
  • Product liability: Many personal injury claims occur after a victim has been injured by a defective product. One of the more famous examples of this case is Liebeck Vs. McDonald’s, in which a woman successfully sued the fast food chain after being severely scalded by a cup of boiling coffee. Product liability claims can be made if a product has a flaw in its design, its production, or even its advertising (if dangerous or misleading claims are made about the product).
  • Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice is defined in the US as “any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.”
  • Wrongful death: A wrongful death claim may be made if one party’s negligence resulted in a death. This may be a part of something like a car accident claim or a medical malpractice claim, if they resulted in a death.
  • And more.

How Do You Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Cases?

You don’t necessarily have a valid personal injury claim just because you suffered injuries. Rather, there are a few items that you and your attorney need to prove in order to make a valid legal claim. These items are:

You Were Owed a Duty of Care

Firstly, you must prove that the at fault party owed you a duty of care; in other words, they had a responsibility to act safely and responsibly and provide a reasonable level of care to you. This is fairly easily proven in most personal injury cases. For instance, all drivers owe a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians.

The At-Fault Party Breached That Duty of Care

Second, you must show that the at fault party exhibited negligence, breaking this duty of care. In the example of car accidents, a driver drinking while driving or breaking the speed limit would be a breach of the duty of care.

The At-Fault Party’s Breach Directly Resulted in Your Injury

You must prove that the at fault party’s negligence directly caused your injury. For instance, in a car accident case, their driving while under the influence directly led to a collision, which caused you serious injuries.

You Suffered Measurable Losses As a Result

Lastly, you must show that you experienced measurable losses. This could mean you were stuck with medical bills or medical expenses, if you experienced injuries. You may have lost wages if your injuries prevent you from working. Things like emotional trauma emotional pain are also losses that can be taken into consideration.

If you and your attorney are able to prove these items, you have a good chance of being able to recover compensation via a personal injury claim.

Remember, if you or a loved one has endured an injury or any kind of suffering as the result of an accident, you very likely have the right to compensation. Don’t hesitate to contact the attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys to learn how we can fight on your behalf.

What Injuries Are Covered in a Personal Injury Case?

Personal injury lawyer Caroline Munley working at her deskWhen someone experiences an accident and an injury, the physical injuries are only one form of the harm that can occur. A victim’s injuries may put them out of work for weeks, months, or longer, resulting in the financial stress of lost wages. A person’s body being unable to work the way it once did can also cause a great deal of emotional harm and distress, and possible the loss of enjoyment of life. It’s not uncommon for accident victims to experience things like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and all manner of pain and suffering.

The good news is that if you file a claim after being injured in an accident, it’s not just your broken bones that will be accounted for. When estimating the value of your personal injury claim and deciding how much compensation to seek, your lawyer will factor in the physical damage done to your body, but also so much more. Any emotional trauma, pain and suffering, mental anguish, chronic pain, property damage, and additional areas in which a victim may suffer will be accounted for. All of this is taken into consideration when filing a personal injury claim.

What is the Process of Filing a Personal Injury Claim?

If you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, the first thing to keep in mind is that most states have statutes of limitations for personal injuries; this means there is a limit on how long after the accident or injury you can file a claim. In the state of Pennsylvania, for instance, there is generally a two year limit on filing a personal injury claim, starting from the date of the injury.

If you are within the two-year time frame and interested in opening a case, your next course of action is to hire an attorney. These cases can be complex, and are difficult to navigate without the aid of legal counsel. Together, you and your lawyer will assess your case and make sure you meet the necessary requirements, as described above (ie, there was a duty of care and that duty of care was breached). This is a crucial step — if it cannot be proven that the other party was negligent, and that the other party’s negligence led to your injury, you may not have a case.

Throughout the process, it’s crucial to document everything. Keep all your medical records and medical bills. Take pictures of your injuries. If you are trying to recover compensation, you’ll need evidence to show that the compensation is deserved.

Once all the necessary evidence and information has been gathered and reviewed, your attorney will file a formal complaint with the other party and their legal team. This will include a detailed description of what occurred, the physical injuries and pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result, and more. The defendant will then respond either admitting fault or denying it (or, in some cases, stating an answer is not required).

What happens next depends on the details of the case. If the defendant thinks the claim is unfounded, they could file a motion to dismiss the case entirely. Conversely, if your attorney thinks the case is extremely clear cut in your favor, they may file a motion for a summary judgement (asking the court to make a judgement without a trial).

Most likely, the case will either settle or go to trial. Settling is the far more probably outcome; the majority of cases reach a settlement without going to trial. This means that, after some negotiations, both sides agree on an amount for the defendant to pay the victim, accounting for physical injuries, pain and suffering, and more. If a settlement cannot be agreed upon, a trial may become necessary.

What is the Role of the Insurance Company in Personal Injury Cases?

personal injury attorney Robert Munley standing with arms crossedParticularly in personal injury cases that involve an auto accident, it’s also important to understand the role of the insurance company.

If you have endured a car crash, one of your first courses of action will be to alert the insurance company that an accident has occurred. However, the details of this process vary greatly from state to state. Pennsylvania, for example, is generally a no-fault state; this means that regardless of who is at fault, everyone involved files a claim with their own insurance provider. Alternately, in the at-fault states around the country, the victim would file an insurance claim with the at fault party’s insurance provider.

Once this claim is filed, the victim will wait to hear back from an insurance adjustor, confirming that the claim has been received. The victim will then follow up with a more specific demands letter, illustrating all of their injuries and the compensation they’re seeking. This begins the negotiation process with the insurance provider, as all sides try to agree on a fair settlement.

Again, this process varies greatly from state to state, so it’s important to review the laws in your area. Working with an experience personal injury attorney who is well versed in your state’s laws and processes is the best way to set yourself up for success.

Why Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys?

We know that you have many options when it comes to who you trust with your personal injury claim. That’s why we don’t take our responsibilities lightly; at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we work tirelessly to give you the best possible legal counsel guide you through the process step by step. We will fight on your behalf to recover compensation and justice, so that you can focus on your own recovery and getting back to the life you enjoy.

At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, you are always entitled to a free legal consultation regarding your case, so don’t hesitate to call. We know that the prospect of working with an attorney can seem daunting — won’t it result in mounting attorney’s fees on top of everything else you’re dealing with? Not at Munley. Here, we don’t make a dime unless you win. We’re paid on a contingency fee basis; if we win your case, our payment comes as a percentage of your settlement. This means we only get paid if you do too.

We can’t take away the pain of your injuries or the suffering you’ve endured, but we can help you fight for what’s right. Don’t wait: contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free legal consultation.

 

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