Personal Injury Claims: Your Questions Answered

A personal injury claim is a legal action that allows an injured person to file a civil lawsuit against another person or party whose act of negligence, carelessness, or wrongful conduct caused the injury. A personal injury is a physical injury to your body and mind, and emotions by legal definition. In other words, psychological injuries can also qualify as personal injury. Many people suffer depression and anxiety, along with broken bones, in the aftermath of an injury. In general, negligence is the basis for liability in most personal injury claims. 

Personal injury law is part of the tort system. Filing a personal injury claim is referred to as a type of tort lawsuit. A tort is a wrongful act or an infringement of a right that causes someone to suffer or bring harm to them. As it relates to common law, that suffering or harm is defined as a civil wrong that can lead to civil legal liability. Tort law, then, is the area of law that covers injuries and accidents that result in physical or emotional harm. If you’ve been physically or emotionally harmed due to someone else’s negligence, personal injury law says you have a legal right to recoup your losses. 

How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

Personal injury cases are brought after someone suffers actual physical or emotional harm caused by another party’s negligence, whether unintentional or through reckless or malicious actions. The injuries also lead to significant financial damage through lost wages and medical and therapy bills. Common situations that give rise to personal injury cases are automobile or motorcycle accidents, being injured on the job or in the workplace, landlord or property management negligence, slip and fall hazards on someone else’s property, and dangerous product recalls.

What is the personal injury claim process?

At the earliest opportunity after sustaining an injury in an accident, the best way to start a claim process is through consulting and retaining an experienced personal injury lawyer. Though you do not have to hire a lawyer to file a personal injury claim with a court, hiring a knowledgeable, experienced attorney will give you a decided edge in making informed decisions and receiving a larger settlement on average. 

What should I do after a personal injury accident?

After a personal injury accident, you should first seek medical attention. Next, if you can, compile and save evidence of the accident. For example, take pictures, gather contact information of any witnesses, jot down everything that happened as soon as you can to ensure that no detail is forgotten in the months that follow. Collect all medical records and document every visit to the hospital, doctor’s office, and therapy sessions. In the situation of a car accident, file a police report. Finally, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to help get the just compensation you deserve.

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

In Maine, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is six years. This means that you have six years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court. 

Who pays for a personal injury lawsuit?

In general, compensation for a personal injury lawsuit is paid by the negligent party’s insurance company. Compensation would cover any past and future medical bills, loss of income or the ability to earn a living, any pain, and suffering, and any applicable punitive awards. An experienced lawyer will help you get the money you deserve.

I was injured in an accident that wasn’t my fault, will I still have to go to trial?

The majority of personal injury claims do not go to trial. In fact, trying a case before a judge or jury is the last resort. Your personal injury lawyer will make sure that the compensation offered for your injuries is just. Also, it is to the benefit of the insurance companies to settle lawsuits out of court to avoid unwanted publicity for their clients and not risk paying even more in damages.   

But the insurance company made me an offer, should I accept the settlement?

Plain and simple, you should never accept a settlement offer from an insurance company without consulting a personal injury attorney first. Insurance companies are for-profit corporations. You will not receive the fair compensation you deserve for your injuries without the advice and consultation of an experienced attorney. 

If you wish to receive the compensation you deserve, in Maine, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Hardy, Wolf & Downing. Touching on six decades of experience, Hardy, Wolf & Downing offers their clients personalized and exceptional service to ensure that they obtain the outcome and financial recovery they are entitled to.