When Should You Consider A Personal Injury Lawyer?
Everyone hopes for the best in life, and that’s what we always work towards, but sometimes things don’t work out. No matter how much we try to prepare for all of life’s potential obstacles and hazards, the unexpected can happen and it may be entirely out of our hands. Injuries—especially the crippling sort that can fundamentally change the way we live—are exactly that kind of situation. When an injury occurs that severely impacts your quality of life and even affects the way you will have to live going forward, it’s a terrible time for anyone. But while no one can take back the injury or the lifelong effects that may be its consequence, there is one thing that people might be able to do, and that is seek compensation.
But how do you know if this is something that you can do?
Evaluate The Situation
A traumatic injury is one of the most unfair things a person can endure, but if the injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, it may be an unfairness that can at least be addressed legally, in court. There are two situations where an injury incurred can be dealt with in court, but they are very different scenarios.
If the injury you receive is the direct result of someone’s deliberate intent to harm you, then the case is likely to be tried as a criminal case. However, if the injury was not intentional, but a person, persons or company is responsible for the injury, there is negligence at work, and this may be grounds for a personal injury case.
If you feel your situation is the result of negligence from someone that had a legal obligation to avoid injuring others, then your most important step is documentation. If the situation has just occurred, the more information you can preserve, the better. Try to remember the exact sequence of events and write it down for the court case. Photographs of the injury, eye-witness accounts with contact information for those witness will also be invaluable in reinforcing your case. And finally, ensure that the appropriate authorities have been informed so there is an official record and report of the incident.
The one area in which things are slightly less straightforward is with automobile accidents. Due to the “no-fault state” status of Florida, all drivers are legally required to carry personal injury protection, meaning the insurance companies will handle the financial aspects of these accidents, up to a point. That point is crossed if a personal injury case is categorized as a serious personal injury, in which case it can proceed to court as with a regular personal injury case, but these injuries must, in the opinion of the law, be much more crippling and severe.
If you decide to pursue a personal injury case there are three types of possible damage that can be involved in a case, Nominal, Compensatory, and Punitive.
Nominal damage is awarded in cases where it may be clear that there has been a legal breach against you, but there may be no injury, or the recoverable damage you are seeking—whether it is medical expenses or lost salary—cannot be proven. Nominal damage is not an ideal legal situation and most lawyers will take great care to assess your case early to see if it falls into this category or not.
Compensatory damage is the “standard” that most people are familiar with, which can encompass medical expenses, wages lost as a result of injury, property damage even payment for housekeeping services if the injured party is no longer capable of performing these chores. Psychological damage and emotional suffering can also be considered compensatory damage.
Punitive damage is extra damage sought on top of compensatory damage, and, as the name implies, is meant as additional “punishment” for wrongdoing and the suffering inflicted. Punitive damages have specific conditions that need to be met, as well as a certain amount of severity required for the act committed and its consequences. A qualified personal injury lawyer can easily advise you on whether your case qualifies for additional punitive damage.
These are the basics that you can familiarize yourself with for building a personal injury case. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with legal experts, like those of us here at getmejustice.com for an depth consultation.