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What is Personal Injury?

Update Date: Aug 04, 2020 11:54 AM EDT
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What is Personal Injury?
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Personal injury is an area of law that deals with compensating victims for accidents. There are many smaller branches of personal injury law including car accidents, trucking accidents (referring to commercial trucks), slip and fall (premises liability), medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, etc. If you've been injured in an accident due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to damages. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area today.

Personal Injury Law 101

In order to collect damages on a personal injury accident, these elements must be present. 

  1. There must be an incident 

  2. The accident must have caused damages 

  3. The accident must have been the result of negligence

  4. The negligent party must have had a duty of care for the injured party

For example, let's consider a slip and fall accident at a grocery store. The victim is walking down an aisle, fails to notice a small pool of oil on the floor, slips and falls, and fractures their tailbone. The incident would be the fall, and the damages would be the fractured tailbone. The negligence was on the part of the store staff because they failed to detect and clean up the hazard. The ownership of the store had a duty of care to keep the aisles clear for its patrons. 

What Makes a Strong Personal Injury Case

Personal injury cases, like all legal cases, are won on the strength of their arguments. In order to develop a strong personal injury plaintiff's case, it's important to preserve as much evidence as possible. Here are some key pieces of evidence that a personal injury lawyer can use to win their case:

  • Video and photographic evidence - This can be obtained a number of ways: via a cellphone, security cameras, and even intersection monitoring cameras. If you've been in an accident, you should try to take pictures or video of the scene, any debris, damaged vehicles, and injuries. Back these images up for future presentation. 

  • Witness Testimony - One of the reasons that it's important to get a personal injury lawyer involved in your case early on is so that they can depose witnesses. If you are able to get the names and contact information of people on scene, write them down and preserve the information for your lawyer.

  • Medical Records - Establishing a baseline for your recovery is essential. Do not delay your medical treatment. Your attorney will want access to your medical records and may even discuss your course of treatment with your doctors. 

  • Additional Documentation - Any police reports or incident reports that are completed in response to the accident can be invaluable for your personal injury case. Ask for a report or incident number if you can't get an actual copy of the report at the time of the accident. 

Finding a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you're concerned about how you can afford a personal injury lawyer, there is some relatively good news. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means that they receive a portion of your settlement or jury award once the case is complete. In other words, you don't have to pay out of pocket. You should ask any potential attorneys about their fee structures before committing. Additionally, check legal rating services and review any client testimonials to help you make your decision. 

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