In such claims, one person files a lawsuit against another person or entity for causing them harm. Such harm is usually some kind of physical injury and the other person or entity is usually accused of negligence.
Personal injury claims include, but are not limited to, the following types of accidents or incidents:
- Slip and falls
- Automobile accidents
- Product Liability (defective Products, bad medications, recalled items)
- Medical Malpractice
The following terms describe the individuals involved in personal injury matters:
- Claimant: the one who is injured;
- Tortfeasor: the person or entity that caused claimant’s injury;
- Adjuster: the person employed by the insurance company;
- Plaintiff: the person who sues Tortfeasors;
- Defendants: the person Plaintiff sues: and,
- Attorney: an individual trained in the law who represents people.
After a Claimant is injured, they usually receive medical treatment, the bills of which are paid through their health insurance. In the event of an automobile accident, however, the claimant’s automobile insurance pays the medical bills.
In most cases, a Claimant seeks monetary compensation for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of their injury. To assist them, they normally retain an attorney. The attorney will then communicate with the Tortfeasor’s insurance company (or insurance companies, if there is more than one Tortfeasor). When the matter involves an automobile accident, the Attorney communicates with the Tortfeasor’s automobile insurance company. When the matter involves a slip and fall on a Tortfeasor’s property or involves a Tortfeasor personally, the Attorney contact’s the Tortfeasor’s home insurance company. When the Tortfeasor is a doctor, the Attorney contacts the doctor’s malpractice insurance company. When the Tortfeasor is an entity, the Attorney contacts the company’s insurance company, and so on.
When the Claimant finished his medical treatment, or before the timeline for filing a lawsuit expires (for most states, such is two years), the Attorney will attempt to negotiate a monetary settlement with the Tortfeasor’s insurance company. Monetary compensation is supposed to make the Claimant “whole.” The total amount of medical bills is believed to reflect the extent of Claimant’s injuries and the Attorney uses such as one of the tools to determine how much the Claimant should receive.
There are times in which an acceptable settlement is made directly with the insurance company and such closes the matter. If a settlement cannot be reached, the Attorney files a Complaint in Civil Court. The Claimant is now a Plaintiff and the Tortfeasor is now a Defendant.
The Complaint initiates the process of litigation. State rules often set timelines and sometimes, trials are even scheduled. The Defendant responds to the Complaint and discovery begin. This involves the collection of evidence and documentation through written requests and subpoenas and the taking of oral testimony through depositions
The trial comes next. It starts with the attorneys for both parties selecting whom they want on the Jury. Then, plaintiff’s side goes first. When the trial is over, the Jury commences the process of deciding negligence. Sometimes, the Jury decides on the monetary award too. (Note: Sometimes there are more documents involved in litigation. This summary just provided a basic generalization).
Elements of Negligence
Though State laws vary, in arrange to succeed in a inattention case, Plaintiff usually must prove the following four elements:
1) That Defendant owed Plaintiff a Legal Duty of Care.
2) That Defendant Breached the Legal Duty of Care.
3) That Defendant’s Actions Caused the Plaintiff’s Injuries.
4) The Court is Actually Able to Compensate Plaintiff for Their Injury
Standard of Proof
Plaintiff’s Standard of Proof in Personal Injury Claims and all Civil Trials is called “a preponderance of the evidence.” Such essentially means, whose facts seem more likely true or whose facts seem at least 51% true.