Accidental injuries affect millions of Americans each year. These injuries can be very costly and devastating.
Personal injury claims seek compensation for the victim’s actual financial losses. Compensatory damages refer to compensation that covers measurable costs such as medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. There are also non-financial losses, such as pain and suffering.
To win a negligence case, you must establish that the defendant was responsible for taking care of you and failed to fulfill that obligation. This duty is usually a legal obligation from the relationship between you and the defendant (such as a business owner, customer, or doctor and patient). The plaintiff must also show that the defendant’s breach caused their injuries and damages.
In general, negligence involves failing to take the precautions that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. This can include both actions and omissions.
Gross negligence is reckless behavior that goes above and beyond ordinary negligence. It can involve actions or omissions that endanger other people’s or property’s safety. Determining when conduct moves from ordinary to gross negligence may be challenging. However, a court can decide that a driver who causes an accident while speeding in a school zone is acting with gross negligence. A significant financial award can be achieved due to this.
When a person suffers a severe injury due to another party’s negligent actions, that injured person may be able to recover compensation for their damages. Regarding personal injury cases, the process is different from criminal cases. It starts with the plaintiff filing a civil complaint against an individual, business, corporation, or government agency. The complaint alleges that the defendant acted carelessly or irresponsibly and caused harm.
To establish negligence, your Wilk Law, LLC attorney will form a chain of causation that shows how the defendant’s conduct fell short of a standard of care a reasonable person would have followed in a similar situation. This is known as causation by proximate cause.
In personal injury cases, you are entitled to special and general damages. Special damages are measurable costs, such as medical expenses and lost wages, while general damages encompass less-measurable costs like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In addition, you can also claim punitive damages, which are meant to punish the wrongdoer for gross negligence or wanton recklessness.
In civil cases, damages are the remedy awarded to a plaintiff who successfully proves that someone else committed a legal wrong against them. Generally, this is in financial compensation to offset the victim’s losses.
Sometimes, the loss is easily quantifiable, such as the cost of a vehicle repair or medical bill. Other cases involve costs, like pain and suffering, can’t be printed on a receipt. These are called general compensatory damages.
Victims in personal injury cases seek compensation to help them return to the same position they were in before they were harmed. They also want to ensure that those who cause harm are held accountable. This is why they file civil lawsuits. In some cases, they may also pursue criminal prosecution against the perpetrator if the offense was intentional and a crime. In any case, having an experienced attorney’s guidance can be helpful for both types of personal injury claims.
Many jurisdictions impose statutes of limitations that determine how long someone has to bring a personal injury claim. These time limits vary by state and type of case.
In most cases, the period during which a person can file a lawsuit starts on the day they experience an injury and become aware, or should have become aware, that someone else’s negligence was the cause. This is called the discovery rule. There are exceptions, however. For example, in cases involving exposure to toxic substances, the statute of limitations may begin to run when the injury victim first becomes aware that their illness results from negligent action.
Other exceptions include minors, where the statute of limitations is “tolled” until they reach a majority, and claims against government agencies, which require notices of intent to sue filed within a specific period. It is best to seek legal help as soon as possible after an accident to ensure you do not miss important filing deadlines.