Personal injury law covers a wide spectrum of cases, from a drunk driver causing an accident to a loose dog biting a stranger in the park. The number of specific circumstances are endless. If you have recently been involved in a situation that you believe falls under personal injury law, the first step is becoming educated in the legal process and your rights. An attorney like those at Spooner and Associates can help guide you through the process, beginning with a free legal consultation.
But if you want to know more about personal injury law prior to seeking legal advice, here are some common questions and answers for your review:
What is personal injury law?
Simply put, personal injury law deals in civil lawsuits brought about by wrongful conduct. This type of lawsuit is often called a “tort” (meaning “to twist, wrong, or harm”). Torts are civil lawsuits, which differ from criminal actions. In a criminal action, the government initiates the action and being found guilty can result in punishment that may include fines and imprisonment. Civil lawsuits are legal actions between two private citizens or corporations. The two parties are identified as the plaintiff (who seeks compensation for a wrong) and the defendant (the party who committed the alleged wrongful conduct.) In the civil lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks monetary compensation for the value of their loss, referred to as “damage,” from the defendant.
Most cases are based off of the doctrine of negligence, which implies that all members of society must act responsibly and avoid putting others at risk. While some accidents are unavoidable, some acts may be established as a circumstance under which a “reasonable” person would have acted differently in the defendant’s position. The legal standard to establish civil negligence or wrongdoing is much different than to establish criminal negligence or wrongdoing.
What are some common types of cases within personal injury law?
Cases may fall under the umbrella of negligent or intentional torts, as well as strict liability. Negligence is the middle of the spectrum, with intentionality on one end (when the defendant purposefully caused harm to the plaintiff) and strict liability on the other (when the defendant did everything in their power to avoid causing harm).
Common types of Georgia personal injury cases include the following:
- Injuries arising from an automobile, truck, motorcycle, or bike accident
- Injuries arising from a slip and fall on someone else’s property
- Injuries arising from a defective product
- Injuries arising from another person’s animal or pet
- Damage to property caused by another
- Injuries due to an intentional act committed by another
If I was injured, how can I receive compensation for my personal injury claim?
When faced with a personal injury claim, defendants may relay on a few common defenses to avoid being found responsible for negligence:
- You (the plaintiff) did not use proper care. Thus, you are responsible for your own injuries.
- You “assumed the risk” by participating in something you knew was dangerous.
- You gave permission to the defendant to make an action that ended up causing the you harm.
The attorneys of Spooner & Associates, P.C. will be able to identify your claims and anticipate any defenses that the other side may try to assert. Understanding the claims or strategy of the other party is paramount to a successful preparation of a plaintiff’s claim. Often the defendant is represented by an insurance company. Insurance companies operate of a financial basis, so they have teams of lawyers, adjusters, and experts who have one common goal – to save the insurance company from financial responsibility, generally at your expense. Our attorneys can help level the playing field by providing experienced and knowledgeable representation. We are committed to helping our clients through trying circumstances. Two of our attorneys previously worked for insurance companies and are intimately familiar with how they work and how they think.
How is compensation calculated in personal injury law?
Once negligence or another type of tort has been established, the defendant must pay the plaintiff as directed by the court. Certain types of compensation may be easy to identify and report in court, such as medical bills or property damage expenses. However, emotional distress, family dysfunction, or loss of earnings are more difficult to prove and often require expert diagnosis, calculation, and/or testimony. Properly identifying and substantiating your damages is just as important as determining the fault of the defendant.
Personal injury law can vary quite a bit depending on the case. A knowledgeable attorney like those at Spooner & Associates, can help develop your case and get the compensation you deserve. Many people aren’t aware that personal injury cases are generally handled by Georgia attorneys on a contingency fee basis, so no money is required from our clients up-front in order to start the legal process. If you want more information or would like to meet with an attorney to discuss your specific situation, contact Spooner and Associates.
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