Understanding Personal Injury Law
Almost everybody has experienced unfortunate encounters that left them physically hurt. This may range from minor accidents like slipping or hitting your head, to extreme cases such as automobile accidents that might lead to serious injury and even death. When such events happen, how can the situation best be dealt with?
If one is hurt or injured because of something that can be blamed on another party, this is where the legal field known as personal injury law comes in. By definition, personal injury cases arise when harm or injury is done to a person, whether intentional or not, and the injured party decides to file a lawsuit against the party that is alleged to be responsible for the harm caused. In Utah and the rest of the United States, a personal injury attorney is in charge of negotiating the disputes between the two parties.
Here is some more information on personal injury law to help you understand its significance today:
What Does Personal Injury Law Cover?
Personal injury law can cover cases both where the harm was done was intentional or not. Cases, where it was not the intention of the offending party to inflict harm upon another, are called accidents. In these cases, for a personal injury claim to hold, the injury must be a direct result of negligence on the part of the offending party. Examples of negligence resulting in accidents include automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and slip-and-fall incidents.
Accidents may also be caused by defective products that were being used by the injured party. Hence, even if there was no intent on the part of the manufacturer to cause harm, they may still be held responsible, as their negligence during product development may have set the stage for the injury to occur.
Intentional acts, on the other hand, take the form of assault, battery, and physical and sexual abuse. Defamation, in which one’s statement about another party causes harm to the latter’s reputation, can also be grounds for a personal injury case.
How Do Personal Injury Cases Work?
Typically, a personal injury case begins with the injured party (plaintiff) makes a case against the party alleged to have caused harm (defendant). The plaintiff then makes the case that the defendant breached a legal duty (in cases of negligence). For example, a driver has the legal duty to operate a vehicle according to safety standards; a breach of this resulted in an automobile accident. A case may also be made that the defendant intentionally sought to do harm to the plaintiff.
If it is agreed upon during negotiations that the defendant is responsible for the harm caused, a settlement (consisting of financial compensation to the plaintiff) outside of court is possible. However, should both parties refuse to agree to a settlement, the plaintiff may file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant in court, where it will be treated as a civil case.
Personal injury cases are also unique in that common law (decisions made by courts) is the primary basis for decisions. Furthermore, personal injury law is governed by a statute of limitations, which gives plaintiffs a specific timeframe following the incident to file a lawsuit. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state depending on the type of injury and surrounding circumstances.
In any case, it is best to have a personal injury lawyer on call in case you find yourself amidst such situations. This will surely help you navigate these complicated cases and ensure that you come out with the best deal possible.