Being injured psychologically or physically after an accident caused by someone else's negligence often calls for a personal injury claim. When someone first believes they have a claim, they often don't know where to begin or what questions to ask.
What's worse, there's quite a lot of information out there that can be misleading.
Getting informed will help you to move forward more effectively and know what to expect.
Types of personal injury cases
When many people think of a personal injury claim, they think of car accidents or being injured on the job. However, you can also file an injury claim for animal attacks, sickness from pollution, sports injuries, and even using defective products and bad drugs.
For example, if you unexpectedly get attacked by your neighbor's dog and are seriously hurt — and this result in expensive medical bills — there's a good chance you could be compensated as long as you have competent legal representation.
Pollution and toxic tort claims can be a bit more difficult to navigate. Companies often pollute in the way of noise, untreated water, and releasing emissions into the atmosphere, to name a few. When this pollution reaches homes in the surrounding community, it can result in sickness or injuries. Proving that pollution is the ultimate cause of any ailments is a difficult task, though, and will more than likely require an experienced lawyer.
Common myths about personal injury lawsuits
When you're looking for representation in whatever case you may have, be wary of certain myths and rumors that often surrounding personal injury claims.
One of the biggest lies told is that cases will be settled in court. Actually, 98% of all cases are settled outside of the courtroom because it's in the interest of both parties to reach a settlement and close the case as quickly as possible. Often, there is mediation and settlement negotiations to try and satisfy both parties.
In the rare event that your claim does proceed to trial, fear not – your case will likely be settled in less than 5 years. There have been some false rumors floating around that cases are commonly held in court for at least 5 years. However, most accident cases are resolved anywhere from 2-4 years.
In a few rare instances, cases may take more than 5 years to settle, but it depends on the circumstances and severity of each case — along with the willingness of both parties to cooperate. Most personal injury lawsuits are fairly straightforward, but complexities and delays do occur if the liability is under dispute or the injuries are serious.
Also, keep in mind, that your lawyer cannot tell you exactly how much you will be compensated. You can get a rough estimate of the end result, but the compensation will ultimately depend on the evidence presented. Every case is different — and any attorney who tries to tell you otherwise isn't being honest.
Hire a personal injury lawyer
Having the mindset that you don't need a lawyer when starting a claim is likely the wrong one. Hiring a personal injury lawyer should ease your stress and strengthen your case.
It will also help level the playing field with the insurance company. Insurance companies have no obligation to inform you of your legal rights, which includes the time limits for compensation.
Without a lawyer, you could end up with less and be legally held to what you may have unknowingly agreed to.