The US has among the strictest personal injury laws anywhere in the world. But the implementation for the law and ensuring that the victims are given justice – it surely is a tall order. The personal injury law is governed by what is known as tort. The law recognizes that personal injury can be caused by negligence or by intention. In certain cases if the injury has been caused with an intent to cause harm, there can also be a criminal litigation against the person responsible.
According to the law, personal injury is not limited to just physical injury but it also includes a number of other individual interests such as personal property, loss of income, emotional distress, loss of privacy and reputation. In fact a well know example of tort is defamation which allows celebrities to file lawsuits against media for false and harmful statements.
The victims of personal injury and their families have to overcome numerous challenges and emotional trauma to fight for justice and compensation.
Seeking Representation – Engaging an experienced personal injury attorney is the most critical first step in your fight for justice. There are several parameters by which one can select a personal injury lawyer namely – experience, law firm reputation and law firm ratings. One can check the Martindale-Hubbell Ratings for the law firm which is the best indicator of the capabilities of the law firm. Also, look for their experience in dealing with insurance companies.
Dealing with Insurance – As early as possible the family should file for claim from the insurance company if they have coverage. The current overhaul of the US Insurance Policy by President Barack Obama is of course a step in the right direction, but for the moment the insurance companies fight back to ensure the minimal of insurance payment. It is best to have your personal injury lawyer deal directly with insurance companies.
Making Statements – Do not make any statements to the authorities such as police, administration, lawyers of the responsible parties and insurance companies. These statements can be used against you.
Document Everything – Every aspect of the personal injury and the ongoing case must be documented by the victim and the family. Especially all issues faced at the time of the personal injury, emotional stress and trauma, expenses and communication.
What most people look for is an out of court settlement of a personal injury. An experienced personal injury lawyer always try to ensure if a settlement can be reached without going into a protracted legal battle. The victim receives compensation faster and sometimes it is the best option. However it must be noted that the people responsible for the personal injury will ask the victim to sign a settlement document which states
- The settlement of the case is not necessarily an admission of guilt
- The victim cannot make any further claims against the responsible parties
- The decision of the settlement wrests solely on the victim though it is strongly advisable to discuss the option in detail