Once a wrong has occurred, it is usually human nature to want to seek justice. In the legal realm, this could mean filing a personal injury lawsuit or a bodily injury claim. It is important to note that not all grievances are pursuable in a court of law. That is why preparation is so crucial to the outcome of each case. Our attorneys share information about the filing process for personal injury lawsuits to help you learn more and prepare for your own case.
Personal Injury Lawsuits versus Bodily Injury Claims
The difference between a personal injury lawsuit and a bodily injury claim is quite large. A personal injury lawsuit can be filed for any type of accident where a negligent party caused harm to another. Defendants could include:
- Car part manufacturers
- Product manufacturers
- Property managers
- Dog owners
- Other medical staff
- Medical facilities
- Pharmaceutical labs
- And much more
When filing a personal injury lawsuit, the end goal is to reach a settlement. This can be as simple as a formal apology or as complicated as a monetary sum calculated with punitive damages. When financial compensation is the settlement means, it is paid out to the victims and their successors. The final amount is one that is ruled by a judge as fair compensation for the quality of life loss and may include medical expenses, legal costs, and compensation for pain and suffering.
About Bodily Injury Claims
Simply put, bodily injury claims are a form of compensation from automotive insurance companies. It’s a type of medical coverage for car accident victims with physical injuries. Most auto insurance policies are set where driver A’s policy covers driver B and his or her passengers’ injuries and vice-versa. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, there are options to receive compensation for medical treatment bills. If medical costs far exceed the insurance payout maximums, which vary per policy, or the other motorist lacks auto insurance coverage or has inadequate coverage, then a personal injury lawsuit can help recover costs.
The very first step in filing a personal injury lawsuit is to request the initial consultation. This is often a 30-minute session with a state-sanctioned personal injury lawyer. Use this consultation to discuss your case and get free legal feedback. More often than not, the legal advice provided will guide victims and their loved ones to their next steps. Please note that this is not a legal agreement to start services with the lawyer or the firm they represent.
Before choosing an attorney or law firm for a consultation, do your research. Here are some criteria to include on your checklist:
- Check their website and social media accounts – Have they won any recent cases that are like yours? How many lawyers on staff are experienced with the types of injuries you sustained? Are the firm partners or founders going to be involved in your case?
- Look at reviews – See how others have rated the individual lawyers and the firm as a whole. Reviews can share key indicators of lawyer-client communication, responsiveness, time spent, and other important factors that could help you make a decision.
- Research accreditations and legal memberships – Continuing education is very important in the legal community. Well-versed attorneys and firms will be endorsed by many on sites like Martindale-Hubble, NOLO and AVVO.
- Determine their fee schedules – Lawyers are paid on a fee basis. For some, this may mean a contingency basis, hourly payments, and down payment up front. Personal injury victims with limited funds will want to look for lawyers who accept contingency cases. This means the lawyers do not accept payment until after the case has reached a settlement. If there is no settlement, you are not obligated to pay the lawyer or their firm for their time invested in your case.
Consultations may result in claim rejection. Possible reasons why a firm may reject your case include:
- There is not enough basis legally to pursue any justifiable outcome
- It is out of their expertise (in which they often refer you to another firm that can)
- They do not have enough availability to take on your case
This does not mean you should give up. It may just mean that the particular attorney or firm you have queried does not have the bandwidth for that type of case. Keep trying with different firms to make sure your case gets the attention it deserves.
Once a decision has been made to hire a certain firm or lawyer, then the real trial preparation starts. This includes investigation, discovery, demand letter and mediation. Check back to our blog to see more information on these next steps!