If another person has caused injuries to you or a loved one due to negligence or recklessness, you can pursue a personal injury claim. But filing a personal injury claim can often be complex and time-consuming, so it is crucial to understand the process and how to get compensation.
This article will provide an overview of personal injuries. Learn why getting an experienced lawyer is essential in navigating personal injury claims.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a civil action against an individual or entity for causing harm to another through negligence or intentional wrongdoing. These damages involve physical injuries, economic losses, emotional distress, and reputation damage.
The type of remedy sought could include compensation for the following:
- Coverage for medical expenses and medical care
- Wages lost from time away from work and future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages
- Other compensatory damages
Personal injury claims are often heard in civil court and are based on tort law—legislation designed to compensate those who have suffered loss or harm through no fault of their own.
In some cases, personal injury claims may not need filing a lawsuit in court. Instead, the parties may settle outside of court with an insurance company involved in the case.
In the US alone, there were approximately 6,000 visits per 100,000 population to emergency rooms due to unintentional injuries in 2020.
This stresses the importance of understanding legal rights when pursuing a personal injury claim—especially for those who suffer an injury due to another’s negligence.
Types of Personal Injury
Here are the common types of personal injuries:
Car and Truck Accidents
Car and truck accidents can cause severe physical, emotional, and financial losses.
The most common types of injuries caused by car and truck accidents include broken bones, head trauma or traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI), internal injuries, and soft tissue damage such as whiplash.
Truck and car accidents can happen in various ways, such as:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Intersection collisions
- Multi-car pileups
Common causes of vehicle accidents include:
- Driver negligence
- Defective auto parts
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Poor road conditions
- Failure to yield the right of way
Construction is one of the most dangerous industries due to the many potential hazards that workers face daily. Common construction accident injuries can range from minor to catastrophic, including broken bones, lacerations, cuts, burns, electrocution, and concussion.
Injuries from construction accidents come in the form of the following:
- Falls from heights or downstairs/ladders
- Slips on wet floors or surfaces
- Burns due to explosions or chemicals
- Cuts from sharp objects
- Hearing loss due to excessive noise exposure
- Being struck by heavy objects
- Crushing injuries due to heavy machinery
- Repetitive motion injuries due to long hours at work
- Back strain caused by lifting improperly
Accident victims may have rights to workers’ compensation under the law for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain & suffering due to unsafe equipment, poor health and safety policies, or negligent site supervision.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide proper care resulting in harm or death to a patient.
The most common forms of medical malpractice include the following:
- Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose a condition, which can lead to serious health complications
- Surgical errors like operating on the wrong side
- Birth-related negligence, such as incorrect delivery methods
- Prescription drug errors like giving the wrong dose
- Anesthesiologist negligence leading to coma or death
- Failure to check vital signs adequately
- Emergency room errors like failure to diagnose heart attack symptoms
- Leaving foreign objects inside a patient’s body after surgery
- Unnecessary procedures performed without the consent of the patient
- Defective products like medical devices
Victims of medical malpractice may be able to recover damages for their pain and suffering as well as medical expenses associated with their injury from a negligent doctor or hospital staff member.
Wrongful death is caused by another person’s negligence or intentional act of violence.
Wrongful death cases can arise out of the following:
- Automobile accidents caused by reckless driving or DUI/DWI violations
- Medical malpractice resulting in death (misdiagnosis leading to death)
- Nursing home neglect leading to an elderly person’s passing away
- Gun violence resulting in a fatality
- Military fatalities due to negligence either on base or abroad during deployment/service duties
- Workplace fatalities due to false safety measures put into place (or lack thereof)
- Intentional killing from either a person(s) or criminal organization(s)
- Natural disasters such as hurricanes that cause wrongful death due to inadequate preparations made by governing bodies before their arrival
When an accident victim dies due to the at-fault party’s wrongful act, it affects not only their immediate family members but also those who were close to them financially. This can lead to long-term repercussions for surviving family members who are left without support after their loved one’s passing.
At Frantz Law Group, our experienced team of lawyers will help you understand your legal options to get the justice you deserve for your loved one’s tragic passing.
What Are the Existing Personal Injury Laws?
Personal injury laws vary by state but generally involve physical or mental harm resulting from another person’s negligent or intentional conduct.
In California, Civil Code 1714 addresses different aspects of personal injuries resulting from willful or negligent acts, including medical malpractice, product liability, and premises liability.
The California Code Civil Procedure 377.30 provides a valuable and meaningful recourse to surviving family members in the event of injury or death due to another’s negligence. The injured person’s kin may file suit for damages even if their loved one dies.
A recently signed law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Cal. SB 447 now allows estates to receive compensation for non-economic losses and damages their deceased loved one suffered before passing away in specific scenarios.
Families can seek these damages from responsible parties for non-economic damages by filing a survival action suit. This increases the amount of damages that surviving family members can recover from negligent actions or wrongful death.
The California Code also outlines statutes of limitations regarding filing claims for a personal injury suit, as well as compensation limits for damages awarded through a civil lawsuit.
Additionally, there are various statutes in place in California that protect victims of personal injuries, such as the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Bane Civil Rights Act, both of which provide for compensatory and punitive damages against any person who has interfered with another’s civil rights.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases?
The statute of limitations is the amount of time set by law that outlines how long a plaintiff can wait before filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Generally, the statute of limitations begins when the injury occurs and may vary according to the type of claim and state in which it arises. In most cases, plaintiffs must bring their claims within two years of the incident causing catastrophic and serious injuries.
However, the timeframe may be longer or shorter depending on individual facts and circumstances. For instance, if a person wishes to make a claim against a government entity, different rules may apply, and they must file a claim within six months from the time of injury.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases also varies by state but typically falls within two to three years. For example, in California, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury or the date when you discovered the injury occurred.
In some states, such as Texas, special statutes apply in medical malpractice cases that limit recovery to two years from when the wrongful act occurred (not necessarily when it was discovered).
In addition, some states also recognize statutes of repose which are time limitations on certain types of cases regardless of when the injury occurred or was discovered. These statutes typically provide that no action can be brought more than five to ten years after an act or omission that led to an injury.
Some exceptions could extend the statute of limitations, including if an injured party is under 18, mentally incapacitated, or did not know about their injuries until after the statute of limitations had passed.
Additionally, if a person was injured due to medical malpractice, they may have up to three years from the date of discovery to file suit. And if someone sustains an injury as an infant or minor, the period for bringing a claim does not usually begin until their 18th birthday.
Ultimately, due to these variances and potential exceptions, it is crucial for someone who has experienced an injury to seek legal counsel as soon as possible so they can ensure all their rights are protected.
Should You Get a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Having an experienced personal injury lawyer like the Frantz Law Group on your side is essential when making a claim for compensation following an accident.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that you are adequately informed of your rights and responsibilities under the law. They can explain the intricacies of the legal system and medico-legal processes and any relevant case law and precedents that may affect your claim.
Personal injury lawyers have access to valuable resources that you do not have, such as medical specialists and other expert witnesses who can help bolster your position in court.
They can also provide expert guidance on navigating the legal and claim process, from filing a claim and gathering evidence to developing a strategy for success in the case. They understand the nuances of personal injury law and can effectively utilize statutes, precedents, and evidence to build a strong case that produces favorable results.
Moreover, a qualified attorney will be familiar with the ins and outs of local laws and insurance policies that apply to your case, potentially resulting in more favorable outcomes than if you were to represent yourself alone.
They will review all documents submitted by the opposing party to ensure their accuracy, validity, and legality.
Finally, law firms like the Frantz Law Group understand insurance companies’ strategies. They know how much compensation is fair given the particular facts of your case. They will negotiate with insurers or other parties on your behalf to secure a satisfactory settlement and coverage for medical bills without going to court.
Get the Compensation You Deserve with Frantz Law Group
An experienced personal injury lawyer is essential to ensuring you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. With a lawyer from Frantz Law Group in your corner, you can rest assured knowing that no stone has been left unturned in pursuit of maximum compensation for your injuries.
Professional legal representation allows you to focus on recovering from your injury instead of worrying about complex legal procedures and navigating insurance claims alone.
Contact us today for a free consultation or case evaluation.