If you don’t take care of yourself, who else will? Everything we do in our everyday lives is to make ourselves feel just a bit better, just a bit comfortable and just a bit safer. And when someone else steps in and ruins our safety and security, we need to stand for ourselves. Our safety comprises of emotional and physical components. The emotional one is comparably hard to intervene with and comparably hard to fix it all back. And when another person hurts you physically that is a personal injury. To be more precise personal injury case usually starts when a private individual, called the plaintiff, files a civil “complaint” against another person, business, corporation or even government agency, called the defendant, claiming that they acted carelessly towards them. In such cases, one needs a legal help.
Now, if you are currently going through a personal injury case, the first step you need to take is to take a legal action to claim compensation for a personal injury. Get advice from a solicitor. And it is better if you get the advice from a lawyer specifically specializing in these types of cases. And you can’t really take your time with this. There is a strict time limit on taking legal actions. For general personal injury cases, the time limit to notify the person that you are claiming against nine months from the date of the injury or one month from instructing a lawyer. Choose whichever is earlier and go with it.
The laws of personal injury cases differ from state to state and also by individual situation. As most of us are not familiar with these laws, do not know what law entitles us to and could end up disadvantaged. This is the main reason one should get a good lawyer to undergo the process correctly and safely. So it is best to hire an attorney that specializes in personal injury claims and has tons of experience particularly representing injured people. If you are in the state of California and are looking for the best attorney at law read about how to find one.
When do I need an attorney?
If you are in doubts about whether to hire an attorney or not these are some circumstances in which you definitely need to take the action and have someone protecting your rights.
1. If the other party’s lawyer contacted you to offer a settlement agreement, don’t hesitate and get legal advice: they can trick you into something you have no idea about.
2. If you have to deal with an insurance company, be sure that a personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company better than you. Not everything involving insurance is easy and clear as it may seem.
3. If your injury case is a pretty serious one, for example, if you may require surgery or long-term treatment or even some permanent impairment (brain or head injury) you can’t go through the process without a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer
4. If because of your personal injury you did not attend to work or school for a significant amount of hours.
5. If you are unable to walk, dress, eat without help or handle other personal activities, don’t put yourself in more trouble and do the right thing: hire an attorney.
Personal injury cases vary from person to person. And generally we can measure the severity of a personal injury case by checking the type of injury sustained: how much damage did it do. Also, we can measure it by the length of time it took to recover: was it a week or two, or was it a year. And lastly, we measure the severity of personal injury case by the cost of medical bills incurred.
Since by now have some sense of what a personal injury case let’s dig into what compensation one can get for their personal injury case. Compensations: one can get them in several ways. One can get compensation by using claims of assessor i.e. claims management company (CMC). CMC’s offer to take up cases on a “no win, no fee” basis. However, they also have some disadvantages. For example, some CMCs may not sure a solicitor or have a solicitor taking responsibility for the case, or the CMC may ask you to pay a percentage of the compensation you receive.
Legal action in a civil court
Another way of getting compensation for a personal injury case is by taking legal action in a civil court. This can be pretty expensive. However, you might be able to get help with legal costs from a solicitor or organization providing legal aid, a conditional fee agreement or an insurance policy. Many house contents policies, car insurance or even travel insurance policies have legal expenses cover attached. So if you got one, way to go.
Moving on, if these two ways of getting compensated did not fit your needs, you can make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). But this works only if you have been injured as a result of a criminal act. For example, you may have been the direct victim of an assault, or your injury may have been sustained when you were attempting to help the police after a crime had been committed. In these kinds of cases, CICA will help you.
Criminal Compensation Order
Another way to go is a criminal compensation order. Now it is important to note that if you are not the criminal you can’t apply for this. A person convicted of a criminal offense may be ordered by the court to pay compensation for an injury that occurred because of him/her, loss or damage they have caused to someone else. The amount of compensation will depend on what the offender can afford to pay. However, the maximum that you can get is approximate $6,500. And if a criminal compensation order is made, it is the court’s responsibility to make sure the offender pays.
And of course, there are special Government compensation schemes for some injuries and losses that might help you get reimbursed. Those usually include vaccine damage or asbestos-related diseases. For example, if a person has contracted HIV when receiving treatment for hemophilia can claim payments from the MacFarlane Trust and compensation from the Government.
Damages: general and specific
Have you figured out which compensation method fits your specific personal injury case? Now you need to know that there are two types of compensations all together: general damages and special damages. General damages are paid as reimbursement for an injury. An example can help understand more thoroughly. A payment for pain and suffering is a general damages compensation example. Also, a payment for loss of future earnings can be under the same category. However, the compensation amount is totally up to the court.
Special damages are actual financial loss caused by the accident up to the date of the hearing. These include damage to clothing or other belongings, travel costs to hospital and medical expenses, the cost of repairing a car if it also has been damaged in the horrible accident. The court also decides the amount of compensation for the special damages. If a court realizes that you had your fault for the accident too, it might reduce the number of damages you receive. For example, if you were in a traffic accident and got very hurt, but you were not wearing your seatbelt, you were partly to blame.
Is one of your thoughts this, “it is going to be very expensive to hire an attorney”? Well, it is going to cost you. In most personal injury cases, a lawyer will charge a contingency fee. This allows the party that is injured to hire a lawyer without having to face the cost of legal fees. If you are thinking about having a contingency fee arrangement, here is how it works. The lawyer’s fees will be deducted from the final settlement in your case, or from the final verdict at trial. And sometimes, a personal injury lawyer may also deduct any expenses that were covered by them. The contingency fee percentage is not precise. The percentage can vary based on the stage of your case.
Don’t be greedy
However, usually, most contingency fees are between 33 and 40%. But there is always room for negotiation. You can try and reduce the percentage or make an alternative agreement. In the majority of cases, the lawyer will get 33.33% of any settlement. So if you were to receive an offer of $30,000 compensation from an insurance company in your case, you will receive only $20,000 and the rest will go to your lawyer’s pocket. This might sound very harsh. Why would you hire a lawyer then? Here is why: you probably couldn’t and wouldn’t get that much of compensation on your own, with your own words and negotiation techniques anyway. So, never doubt the powers of a truly great lawyer. And don’t be greedy. They work very hard to protect your rights and make you happy.
The process of a personal injury case, just like any other legal case, can be very dreadful and tiring. Read more about the overall process and steps of a personal injury case. And if you are currently going through a personal injury case, don’t hesitate and stand up for yourself. Even better, let a great personal injury case lawyer stand up for yourself.