Personal injuries can be devastating not only to you, but your loved ones as well. Oftentimes
an injury happens due to the negligence of someone else (either a person or a company). Negligence is
essentially a person or company doing or failing to do an action that falls below the standard of care required. In our society, we have a general duty to do things in a reasonably safe way. If you perform an act, such as driving a car or maintaining a walkway free of snow, ice, other slippery substances, and other trip hazards, you have a duty to do those activities reasonably well. Most individuals and companies have insurance to cover them for their negligent acts, such as car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and commercial premises liability insurance. If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, you will likely have a claim for personal injury against that person.
Personal injury claims have two primary components: 1) Fault; and 2) Damages. Oftentimes, and particularly in premises liability claims, there can be arguments of comparative fault. Even if the non-injured party is only a fraction at fault for the injuries suffered, they will still likely have a proportionate share of liability for the injuries suffered. Damages are composed of both special and general damages. Special damages are damages that you can put a specific monetary amount to, such as previously incurred medical bills, other types of property damage, and wage loss. General Damages are damages related to pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Traumatic events, along with suffering from physical injuries that affect your ability to perform at your pre-accident level can cause emotional symptoms as well. Also, if you have suffered a head injury, you can have symptoms that include headache, brain fog, memory issues, depression, anxiety, irritability, and challenges coping with the everyday complexities and challenges of life. It can be difficult to notice if you are suffering some of the symptoms associated with a head injury therefore it is always good to rely on a close family member or friend to understand if they have noticed changes in your ability to function and overall mental health.
Personal injury cases require both liability and damages. If someone is not responsible for the injury, there will be no liability and no claim. If there is liability, then the next issue to address is damages. Specifically, are there damages and what is the value of those damages? Oftentimes, a person who suffers injuries will never return to their pre-accident condition, and instead work towards reaching maximum medical improvement; as such, an injured party can make a claim for future medical treatment, loss of future earnings, and/or a general damages calculation that includes ongoing pain, suffering, and other limitations. In personal injury claims, there can be arguments about both liability and damages that will require discovery to be completed to determine the facts regarding both liability and damages. Discovery, in a legal sense, will include answering detailed written questions by both parties, known as interrogatories. Discovery may also involve depositions of witnesses and parties who will give sworn testimony under oath before a court reporter concerning matters relevant to the claim.
Due to the complex nature of these claims, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney because 1) insurance companies do not always have your best interest at hand; 2) it is important to understand the Statute of Limitations since filing personal injury claims require compliance with strict rules; 4) damages due to your injuries may be more extensive than you recognize; 5) proving your case can challenging; and lastly 6) negotiating a fair settlement is often expedited with the help of an attorney. Enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to deal with insurance companies will also free up your time in allowing you to focus on getting the proper treatment and care for your injuries.
At McNeese and Trotsky, both Adam Trotsky and Charles McNeese have been representing individuals in their personal injury claims against negligent at-fault parties for over 20 years. If you have been injured by the negligence of someone else, either in an auto collision or a premises liability incident such as slipping on snow, ice, or another slippery substance, tripping on an obstruction, or a construction site injury, please do not hesitate to contact Charles and Adam for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and the merits of your case.