Accidents happen for all sorts of reasons. People can be killed or hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash. They can be injured due to a defective product such as defective drugs or due to a slip and fall on somebody’s property. Seniors can be injured due to nursing home abuse or neglect.
In all personal injury claims, there are some common aspects that every claimant should understand. Some aspects apply to the determination of who is liable for your accident. Other aspects apply to the amount of damages you can claim. In all personal injury cases, the best advice is to meet with an experienced Huntsville personal injury lawyer as quickly as possible.
Some of the key liability issues that must be addressed include the following:
- Accountability. The right to file a claim for damages is based on the principle that somebody must be liable for your injuries. Generally, defendants can be held liable if they were negligent (such as driving too fast) or if they were strictly liable for your accident. Makers of defective products that cause an accident may be held liable when someone is injured due to the defect.
- Statute of limitations. There are specific time requirements for filing a case. If you wait too long to file a case, you will not be able to seek damages for your injuries even if it is 100% clear that someone else caused your injuries.
- The discovery process. In every personal injury case, skilled lawyers need to investigate how the accident happened and who might be responsible. In most cases, this means working with investigators who can examine the scene of the accident. In many cases, a formal discovery process is used to question the defendants and any relevant witnesses. Discovery includes written questions, oral questions, and requests to produce documentation.
- All relevant defendants. In many cases, more than just one person or company may be liable. For example, in car accident cases the owners of the vehicle (if different than the driver) may be liable. In product liability cases, the distributors and retailers may be liable in addition to the manufacturer.
Some of the key elements of your damage claim are the following:
- Medical expenses. It is essential that any victim of car accident, slip and fall, or any other accident seek prompt medical attention – usually at a hospital or with their local family doctor. Early treatment helps you get healthy and is a strong evidence that you were in a lot of pain. In personal injury claims, medical damages include:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor expenses
- The cost of treatment with physical, psychological, and other therapists
- Medical devices such as wheelchairs or prosthetics
- Any medical treatment that can be verified and for which you were charged – that is due to the accident
- Lost income. You have the right to compensation for any income you lose (due to the accident) including future income loss. Income loss is usually verified through your employer, through financial records, and with the help (when necessary) of financial experts.
- Pain and suffering. Victims are entitled to be compensated for their daily physical aches and pains as well as for their distress, anxiety, and emotional suffering caused by the accident. This is often the largest part of the demand for damages. Pain and suffering also compensates victims for their inability to function or live their lives as they did before the accident occurred.
- Scarring and disfigurement. Anyone whose appearance is altered by the accident has the right to demand compensation for the costs to try to repair the scars and disfigurement and the emotional costs for living with a change in appearance.
Other damages include any property damage and the loss of consortium (the loss of being intimate with your spouse due to your injuries).
Every client wants a just recovery. There are two essential ways accident victims are awarded damages for their injuries:
- Once you have reached the point where the extent of your medical condition is clear and the liability of the defendants is reasonably clear, your lawyer will begin negotiations with the insurance adjuster to try to settle your case. Negotiating a settlement is an art that requires experienced legal counsel. Settlements depend on your approval.
- If your case cannot be settled, skilled personal injury lawyers try your case before a jury of your peers. The lawyer assists you in preparing for the trial and guides you through each and every phase of the litigation process.
At Martin & Helms, our Huntsville personal injury lawyers have a strong track record of success negotiating and trying personal injury cases throughout North Alabama. We work with investigators, your physicians, product safety experts, financial experts, and others – when necessary. To discuss your personal injury case with a seasoned litigator, call us at 256-539-1990, or complete our contact form to schedule a free appointment. We have offices in Huntsville and Decatur. We represent clients throughout North Alabama including Athens and Madison.