Personal Injury LawsuitA personal injury lawsuit is a legal and fine procedure initiated by an individual (the plaintiff) against another party (the defendant), seeking compensation for injuries and damages incurred due to the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. These lawsuits include car accidents, slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, product liability, etc. This is done to recover financial damages that can help the injured party recover and regain their quality of life. In the case of Anderson v. General Motors (1999), Patricia Anderson, accompanied by her four children and a family friend, was involved in a devastating car collision when a drunk driver rear-ended their 1979 Chevrolet Malibu. The collision led to the Malibu’s fuel tank igniting, resulting in severe burns for the vehicle’s occupants. Patricia initiated a lawsuit against General Motors (GM), claiming that the automaker was aware of the hazardous design of the fuel tank but opted not to rectify it. Patricia’s legal representative presented two GM memos that purportedly demonstrated the company’s belief that settling lawsuits would be more cost-effective than making their vehicles safer. Following a 10-week trial, on July 9, a California jury astonishingly granted Patricia $4.9 billion in damages. This amount was subsequently reduced to $1.2 billion by the judge.
Liability and NegligenceLiability is the legal responsibility of the accused for causing one’s injuries. To prove liability, the complainant must confirm that the defendant owed them. This breach is usually characterized as negligence, which can take various forms, such as:
NegligenceNegligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care or the act of engaging in careless or reckless behaviour, which leads to harm to others. To prove negligence, four key elements must be established:
|Duty of Care
|The defendant has a strong obligation to act in a reasonably safe way under the circumstances.
|Breach of Duty
|The defendant failed to have their duty of care through an act or omission.
|The complainant must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused their injuries.
|The victim must have suffered actual harm or losses due to the defendant’s actions.
|In some cases, personal injury claims can involve intentional acts, such as assault or battery. In these instances, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant knowingly and willfully caused harm.
Types and Severity of InjuriesInjuries can range from mild to catastrophic, impacting the victim’s life in various ways. Here are some:
Soft Tissue InjuriesSoft tissue injuries include common injuries like sprains, strains, and contusions. Even though these wounds won’t show up right away, they may cause persistent pain and discomfort.
Broken BonesFractures and broken bones are often easier to document and prove. The severity and location of the break can influence the compensation.
Head and Brain InjuriesTraumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have lasting effects on cognitive function, behaviour, and quality of life. The value of a personal injury lawsuit for a TBI can be substantial.
Spinal Cord InjuriesThese kinds of injuries can be severe paralysis or significant loss of function. These cases often yield substantial compensation due to the long-term care and rehabilitation required.
Burns and ScarringSevere burns and disfiguring scars can lead to substantial awards, considering the physical and emotional impact on the victim.
Internal InjuriesInternal organs injuries, such as the lungs, heart, or kidneys, can be life-threatening and will require ongoing medical assessment and treatment.
Psychological InjuriesEmotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries are considered in personal injury cases, with compensation based on their impact on the victim’s mental health and well-being.
Factors Affecting the Value of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Lost WagesWhen an injury prevents the victim from doing jobs or reduces earning capacity, the lawsuit’s value increases. Compensation can cover past and future lost income, including wages, bonuses, and benefits.
Pain and SufferingThis non-economic component of a personal injury lawsuit addresses the physical and emotional pain endured by the victim. It’s a subjective measure that can vary from case to case. Factors such as the severity of injuries, recovery time, and long-term effects play a significant role in determining pain and suffering compensation.
Property DamageIn motor vehicle accidents or property-related incidents, compensation will be awarded for property damage, including vehicle repair or replacement.
Insurance CoverageThe availability of insurance coverage from the defendant or third parties can influence the potential compensation. The defendant’s insurance policy limits can cap the amount recoverable in some cases.
Contributory NegligenceIf the plaintiff shares some responsibility for the accident or injury, the lawsuit’s value can be reduced. Laws regarding contributory negligence vary by jurisdiction, but in some cases, the plaintiff’s recovery can be reduced or eliminated if their actions contributed to the incident.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury LawyerA personal injury lawsuit seeks to provide justice and compensation for those who have suffered injuries resulting from the negligence or misconduct of others. Understanding the factors that influence the value of a personal injury lawsuit is significant for both victims and those facing legal action. Suppose you find yourself in a situation where you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit. In that case, it’s essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer at Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Edmonton, who can guide you through the process and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions
The longevity of a personal injury lawsuit can vary significantly depending on various factors, including:
- the complicatedness of the case
- the severity of injuries
- the willingness of the two parties to negotiate
Some cases settle within a few months, while others can take several years to resolve. Work closely with an experienced attorney who can assess you through the process and provide realistic expectations for your specific case.
It’s highly recommended that you speak with an experienced attorney, even though you can theoretically represent yourself in a personal injury claim. Personal injury cases can be complex, and different insurance companies often have strong teams working to minimize payouts.
A knowledgeable attorney can be at your side, negotiate with huge insurance companies, and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
If you’re involved in an accident, your safety and well-being should be your top priority. After ensuring your health, the following are some essential steps to take to protect your potential lawsuit:
- Seek medical attention promptly, even if your injuries seem minor.
- Document the incident scene with photos or videos, if possible.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses.
- Report the incident as soon as possible to the relevant authorities, such as the police.
- Preserve any evidence, including damaged property or items involved in the incident.
- Do not discuss or post the accident or your injuries on social media.
- Consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.
This is calculated based on various factors, including the nature and severity of the injuries, the duration of pain and suffering, and its impact on the victim’s life.
While there is no precise formula for determining this value, attorneys often use multipliers to estimate it. They can multiply the economic damages (such as medical costs and lost wages) by a factor from 1.5 to 5. This depends on the circumstances of the case.
If the defendant in your personal injury case does not have insurance or does not have sufficient coverage to compensate you adequately, your attorney can explore alternative options. This could include pursuing a claim against your insurance policy. This is feasible if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Additionally, your attorney will seek to identify other liable parties who could share in the responsibility for your injuries and provide additional compensation.