Personal Injury FAQs
“What is personal injury law all about?”
Personal injury claims and lawsuits are legal remedies designed to obtain compensation for injured or wronged people from wrongdoers, property owners and other responsible parties. Lawyers working in this area of the law often talk about torts: wrongful acts or an infringement of rights. Personal injury law aims to make people whole again to the greatest extent possible after they have suffered harm through others’ negligence or liability.
In some premises liability cases and other situations such as dog bites, “strict liability” may apply, which means the injured person does not have to prove the responsible party was overtly negligent or intentionally harmful. When strict liability applies, the owner of property or the owner of a dog may be liable simply because of that ownership.
“What are the elements of a viable injury claim or lawsuit?”
In a nutshell:
- Someone was injured.
- The injuries result in significant losses, including monetary costs, as well as pain and suffering.
- Someone else was responsible through intentional wrongdoing, negligence or strict liability.
- A plaintiff (the injured or wronged person) must persuade decision-makers (claims adjusters, judges or juries) to compel the opponent or defendant (the wrongdoer or responsible party) to pay damages, compensating the injured for his or her losses.
“How are negligence and liability determined after a personal injury?”
A plaintiff and/or his or her legal counsel will gather evidence of injuries and negligence. A skilled personal injury lawyer may then apply laws (including statutes and past court cases) and prepare compelling arguments in favor of fair compensation for the injured or wronged person.
A diligent and effective personal injury lawyer will apply tried-and-true methods through the entire process, possibly including:
- Accident reconstruction
- Testimony gathering from witnesses, including expert witnesses like auto manufacture experts, health care professionals, life care planning professionals and other appropriate sources of information that can bolster a plaintiff’s case
Arguments supporting the injured person’s case may be brought to settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration or trial.
“Is it usually better to settle out of court or take a case to trial?”
Every case is unique, so phrases like “usually better” may not be helpful. Rather, each set of facts, each injured person, each lawyer and each authority figure, such as the appropriate claims adjuster or the particular judge, will factor into the equation of how to bring a case to the most favorable attainable conclusion.
“How can I help ensure success of my case?”
For best results in your personal injury matter, get quality medical care and follow doctors’ advice. Demonstrate that you are doing your best to get well. Get legal counsel as soon as possible.
Do not give lengthy statements to law enforcement or insurance representatives. Do not post details about your accident or injuries on social media forums such as Facebook or CaringBridge before consulting with your lawyer.
Collaborate and cooperate with your attorney through clear communications. Stay up-to-date and well-informed about the progress of your case. Ideally, your attorney should educate you well enough that if you need to decide whether to accept a settlement or take a case to trial, you will be ready to make choices in your own best interest.
“How should I know if my injury is bad enough or facts are clear enough to seek a lawyer’s help?”
Do not try to determine on your own whether your injuries warrant an attorney’s attention. Ask for an attorney’s advice without hesitation. Initial consultations at Bill Buchanan, LLC, are free, so there is no risk in seeking a case evaluation.
“Won’t I lose a lot of what I gain through a settlement or verdict by paying an attorney his or her portion?”
Studies have shown that injured people with attorneys obtain higher levels of compensation than people who try to manage insurance claims or court cases on their own. It is worth your while to give a lawyer the opportunity to explain how his or her law firm can make a difference in your case.
“My injuries were terrible but they are not the worst thing I have to cope with. Rather, lost wages and lasting disabilities are what I worry about. What hope is there to get justice for these issues in a personal injury claim or lawsuit?”
At our law firm, we rely on the expert advice of life care planners when preparing arguments for the dollar amounts we seek for our clients. If you suffered a serious or catastrophic injury resulting in extraordinary financial and practical needs, our law firm will include evidence of those expected long-term costs in your claim or lawsuit.
“When should I talk to a lawyer?”
There is no reason to wait once you have been injured in an accident. If you are a close family member rather than the injured person, you are also welcome to call us in Columbus to discuss the accident, losses and the best way forward.
“After the accidental death of a loved one, how can an attorney help?”
Bill Buchanan, LLC, offers compassionate, timely and effective advocacy for family members eligible to bring wrongful death claims after a fatal accident. You and your family need time to grieve and regroup. However, Bill Buchanan can begin now to construct your wrongful death claim behind the scenes, without disturbing the family until you are ready to be more involved in the legal case.