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A personal injury is a legal term for an injury to the body, mind, or emotions. It does not involve property damage. In the United States, personal injury claims are prevalent in courts and the basis for most insurance claims. 

In a personal injury action, the injured person recovers compensation for the harm done to their body by the fault party. While most people do this without the help of an attorney, they often find that they need one when they hit roadblocks. At Calhoun Meredith, we have expert personal injury attorneys ready to help victims get a fair settlement. 

What Type of Case Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Handle?

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A personal injury attorney handles accident claims and other types of incident that harms the body. According to the Center for Disease Control, there were 39.5 million physician visits for unintentional injuries in 2016. The number shows the frequency of accidental injuries and the harm they cause. 

Below, we list out the types of accidents that fall under personal injury law. 

Slip and Fall Accidents and Other Premises Liability Claims

A slip and fall accident is a type of premises liability action handled by personal injury lawyers.. As a general rule, property owners must keep their premises reasonably safe, free of hazards or dangerous conditions. A property owner who fails to do this is liable to pay damages to an injured party who suffers harm on their premises. 

Workplace Accidents

A workplace accident is not uncommon in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a  total of 5,333 workers died from work-related injuries in the U.S. in 2019. The number is a 2% increase from the 2018 total of 5,250.

A personal injury attorney handles cases from workplace accidents causing bodily injury. In Texas, injured workers are entitled to workers' compensation. However, the employer and their insurance company may fail to compensate the accident victim.

In that instance, the person can get legal representation and commence a civil lawsuit for financial compensation. An injured worker can also get a personal injury attorney to claim against a third party.

Dog Bites and Dog Attack Injuries 

When a dog attacks or bites you, you should get a personal injury lawyer involved. In Texas, rather than the "strict liability" rule, the state operates the “one bite rule,” and common-law negligence governs liability for dog bites. The law makes it necessary to determine the dog owner's liability before taking legal action, and the best person to help with this is an attorney. 

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes are cases handled by personal injury lawyers. According to the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys, an estimated 5 million elders are abused each year. Abuse happens when nursing home workers fail to provide the standard of care to the residents. Thus, injured victims can hold them legally liable for injuries resulting from neglect and ill-treatment. 

Defective Products, Drugs, Medical Devices, and Medical Malpractice 

Personal injury lawyers also handle cases of defective products, drugs, and medical devices. Their expertise extends to medical negligence too. Thus, if your doctor fails to provide you with standard medical care, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against them. The same goes for companies who cause harm to their customers by failing to warn against the side effects of their products. 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

A large number of personal injury claims are from auto accidents.. It could be a truck accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident. Construction accidents and aviation accidents are also cases where a personal injury attorney's expertise is useful. 

In all of the above, the accident victim would file a claim against the responsible party. The claim must be brought before the Statute of Limitations expires. The victim must also provide evidence to show the liability of the fault party. 

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

A personal injury lawyer has several important functions. Below are some of what they do. 

  • Explain Your Rights 

The legal process can be complicated, and many injury victims are unaware of what their rights are. This is why most of them fall prey to the tricks of insurance adjusters. But with a lawyer, you will know your rights and the different legal issues that would arise. 

An attorney will explain the applicable state laws and statutes of Limitations.. They will shed light on the workings of the modified comparative negligence rule and procedural laws. Lastly, a lawyer explains the damages you are entitled to and how much you stand to recover. 

  • Provides Legal Advice

It is not uncommon for a personal injury victim to underestimate the importance of legal advice. This is one reason why several people waste time filing claims when they don't qualify. An experienced lawyer reduces the chances of mistakes by providing expert advice and opinions.

An attorney explains legal jargon and simplifies the procedures involved in the claims process. They will also explain insurance and medical terms and help you fill the maze of paperwork involved. Furthermore, an injury attorney will not sugarcoat your chances of success. They will explain and let you know what to expect and guide you in making the best decision. 

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  • Represent You in Court

Most personal injury cases settle out of court and do not go to trial. However, there are times when an insurance adjuster would reject your claim. At other times, you might fail to reach an agreement with them. 

In any of these instances, the only recourse is to commence legal action. Litigation is complex, and a simple deviation from procedure and rules of evidence can place you in a disadvantageous position. Thus, it is best to get injury law firms involved. 

A lawyer will present legal arguments and use the right legal theories. Since they have experience with legal matters, they will use legal precedents when needed. In all, it is more profitable to hire legal industry experts than not to. 

Other functions of  a personal injury lawyer include: 

  • Completing professional investigations by hiring professionals like accident reconstruction experts. They will also get witnesses and develop theories about the accident.
  • Connecting you with medical experts who will provide testimony on the extent of your injuries. They will also disclose the accident's impact on your life. 
  • Carrying out a valuation on your damages. Knowing the extent would help get you a reasonable settlement. 
  • Working through several legal processes like negotiations with the fault party's auto insurance carrier. They can also represent you in alternative dispute resolutions. 

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

Not every case requires a lawyer. If the injuries and property damages are minimal, and the settlement offer is reasonable, then there's no need for an attorney. However, things are not always so simple. 

When things get complicated, you need legal representation. Some key instances where you have to get an attorney include: 

  • When Your Claim Gets Denied: It is not unusual for insurance companies to deny claims. When this happens, you need to talk with a lawyer to get an objective opinion. The attorney will advise you on the next step to ensure you don't miss out on your compensation. 
  • When Multiple Parties Are Involved: Suppose you were involved in a multiple auto accident. It might be hard to identify all the proper parties to sue by yourself. But an experienced attorney will identify all the liable parties and name them as defendants.
  • When the Insurance Company Offers a Settlement: You might assume that getting a settlement should be the end of your injury claim. But it is not always the case, especially when you get a low-ball offer. Thus, it is essential to consult a lawyer when you get a settlement offer from the insurance adjuster. The attorney would tell you if that is what your claim is worth or ask for more. 

What Type of Settlement Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Get You?

Personal injury cases offer you three types of damages, and that's what your attorney would strive to get you. They are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. 

Economic and non-economic damages cover: 

  • Past, current, and future wages
  • Property damages 
  • Past, current, and future medical expenses 
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment

Punitive damages are awarded by courts and are not covered by insurance company settlements. It is a deterrence to the fault driver to prevent them from committing acts of gross negligence in the future.. Not all cases qualify for this compensation. So, speak with your lawyer to find out if your case meets the criteria.

How Much Do Personal Injury Lawyers Get From Settlements? 

It is a fact that some lawyers charge an hourly rate, but this does not apply to personal injury claims. Most personal injury lawyers charge contingency fees. It means that they will not demand upfront payment and will charge a percentage of the settlement sum. 

Most contingency fee agreements are between 33% to 40%. But you can negotiate a lower sum, especially if your case does not go to trial. Note that out0of-pocket costs and expenses might affect the amount you receive after a settlement. Contact our injury lawyers to find out more about contingency fee agreements.

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Need a Personal Injury Lawyer? Contact Calhoun Meredith

It is always best to commence legal action with an attorney. At Calhoun Meredith, we place our clients' needs first and work to get them justice through compensation. You don't have to go through a legal claim alone. Let us help you by scheduling a free case review today. 

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