Injury and mishaps are commonplace in today’s world. No matter what the main cause of the injury is it can cause a lot of pain and suffering to you or a loved one. In cases like this, the person suffers injury or is associated with an accident that someone else can be legally held accountable for. Such cases can either be formalized in court for them to find a guilty party or more commonly can be resolved by an informal settlement outside court without any legal proceedings being carried out.
What do you mean by personal injury case?
A “personal injury” case is one in which a person suffers an injury that another person has caused or can be held accountable for. These cases can be solved in two ways
In criminal cases the case is filed by the government against the criminal offender, however, in personal injury cases, a private individual called the ‘plaintiff’ files a civil ‘complaint’ against a person, corporation, government agency or corporation called the defendant. This complaint alleges that the plaintiff was hurt due to the careless or irresponsible action of the defendant.
Most of the time a personal injury case does not get formally filed and can be resolved out of court in an early settlement which involves the persons involved, their insurers, and their lawyers. A settlement commonly has a round of negotiations that is followed by a written agreement stating that both sides will forgo any further action regarding the incident and resolves the matter with a payment of an agreed upon amount of money.
Statute of Limitation
The individual or plaintiff who is filing a case against the defendant has a limited time span in which they can file the case. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. In general terms, the time period that the statute of limitation dictates starts once the plaintiff is injured or discovers the injury. The state law decides the statute of limitations and it usually depends on the type of injury, for example in Texas the statute of limitations for injuries is 2 years; but in cases that involve sex crime is 5 years; and for libel or slander, it is 1 year. This time period also is different in different states.
What laws govern the personal injury cases?
The laws for personal injury cases are not as clear as they are for criminal cases as they do not have the laws and statutes (e.g., penal codes in criminal cases). These laws were made up based on the decisions that have taken place in the court over a period of time and also in treaties that have been written down by legal scholars. Some of the states have gone to the extent of writing down theses decisions into statutes that can dictate the personal injury laws. However, for all intents and purposes, the decision of the judge and court will remain the final word in any case that involves personal injury.
Stages in a Personal Injury Case
There are certain essential steps that have to be carried out when filing a personal injury case these involve
- Meeting with an attorney it is important to know what information is needed to file a case and this can be found out with the help of a lawyer.
- Starting the case (initial court papers) here the attorney of your choice can explain to you the basic knowledge about complaints, answers, and other motions that are involved with the case.
- Finding the facts or Discovery this is the stage in which the opponent’s in the lawsuit share information with each other to find out the facts of the case.
- Resolution before trial: Motions a few of these cases get resolved by using motions like motion to dismiss which basically means dismissing the case before it starts.
- Settlement, as mentioned before most of the cases, are settled before they go to court.
- Trial this is the step in which judgment is made on those cases that actually do go to court.
- Collection of the money getting the amount of money that was settled upon is the final victory
- Appeal if the judgement is not satisfactory to any of the parties responsible they can further appeal in court.