What Is Personal Injury?

Law is, by all means, a very complicated enterprise. That’s why there are lawyers — people who study the laws and educate themselves in the legal system in order to better protect you and your rights. Criminal law involves the government prosecuting the wrongdoer, but personal injury law does not. In essence, personal injury law includes the legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits as a result of wrongful conduct. It means a plaintiff, who is usually a private entity, is taking legal action to seek compensation, monetary or otherwise, for the defendant’s wrongful actions. Personal injury cases are also called “tort” claims, which is a Latin-derived word, meaning twist, wrong, or harm. The laws for personal injury are unique in that they have mostly been derived through court decisions and treatises written by legal scholars. While other areas of law rely heavily on statutes, personal injury law requires a knowledge of previous cases and the decisions they coined to protect civilians in the future.

The American Bar Association says that the basis for a tort claim can be strict liability, negligence, or even intentional. Most claims operate under the basis of negligence, which says that every person has the responsibility to avoid putting others at risk. This doctrine includes room for error in that some accidents are unavoidable. No matter the basis, every claim has two basic issues, called liability and damages. When it comes to the legal defense of the claim, the plaintiff will need to prove the liability of the defendant for the damages the plaintiff sustained in addition to the nature and extent of damages. The key here is for the plaintiff to show that a reasonable person, when put into the defendant’s circumstances, would have acted differently. If the plaintiff is successful in proving this, he or she may receive compensation for their loss.

Plenty of personal injury claims are resolved before trial through an informal early settlement. This means that the case does not make it to court because the plaintiff and defendant negotiate payment of a certain amount of money and agree not to take any further legal action. The product of a settlement is written and signed by both parties to ensure the finality of the claim. There are other layers between early settlement and filing a lawsuit, which are called mediation and arbitration. Arbitration is an increasingly popular method of litigation due to the rising fiscal and emotional costs of going to trial. In this method, the case is presented to a neutral third party, who renders a decision. With court congestion rising, arbitration is a happy alternative because it is a less expensive, less time-consuming, and more flexible way of taking legal action.

With any outcome, you will want to be sure to hire the assistance of a lawyer to handle your case. Personal injury lawyers are specifically trained in the nuances of this type of law and will help you make sure you cover all of your bases when protecting your rights in a civil case. Imagine how you might handle the legal process without them. You would need an extensive knowledge of previous court decisions, a solid claim detailing a bullet-proof basis and proof of liability and extent of damages, and the ability to negotiate and fight for the settlement that you deserve if you do not want the claim to go to trial. You will also need to know how to draft a contract that will illustrate this settlement. If arbitration is enacted, you will need to lead a piece of the process and be able to select a neutral third party and present your case adequately and convincingly. And you only get one chance to do it right. You may not press the case legally more than once under the same circumstances. Your best chance is to take no risks and hire a personal injury lawyer. With their help and expertise, you will ensure the best possible outcome for your civil claim.

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