Archive for May, 2014

Liability in Trucking Accidents

Posted on May 30, 2014

Liability in Trucking Accidents

Trucking accidents account for a fraction of all traffic-related accidents. Furthermore, they have the potential to be much more dangerous than motor vehicle traffic accidents, due to the sheer weight and size of most trucks. Many trucks also haul hazardous loads that can pose additional risks in the event that they are spilled or otherwise compromised during an accident. Additionally, large trucks are much more likely to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes compared to fatal single-vehicle crashes.

According to the 2010 statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,675 people were killed and 80,000 injured in crashes that involved large trucks (of which there were 276,000 such crashes). These statistics represent a 9% increase in fatalities and an 8% increase in the number of injuries compared to statistics from 2009.

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Why Should You Hire a Lawyer After an Accident?

When you sustain an injury as a result of a car accident, you may not be the only one who suffers. Injuries incur costs, both financial and otherwise. You may suffer lost wages, you might lose your job, or your earning potential may be reduced if you are left with a significant disability. As medical and other bills pile up in the aftermath of an accident, the stress and anxiety that come with it can be overwhelming and even incapacitating at times. Individuals who are injured in a car accident may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, expenses, and even pain and suffering; however, doing so can be complicated, especially for someone struggling with the physical and emotional ramifications that often occur following an accident.

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How Much Money Will I Get From My Personal Injury Case?

Sometimes, people hesitate in filing a personal injury lawsuit because they’re not sure they can recover any money. The question of how much you could get out of a personal injury lawsuit is not an easy one to answer. However, there are some general principles that apply in any personal injury lawsuit that will help you get a better idea of what might be possible in your case.

Personal Injury Damages

When a person files a lawsuit, that plaintiff will state the amount of money he or she believes the defendant should pay to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries suffered. (The plaintiff is the person filing the lawsuit, while the defendant is the person being sued.) This is known as damages. Even though a plaintiff might not have actually lost any money, the lawsuit process allows courts to award money as compensation.

Evaluating Damages: Compensatory and Punitive

So how much money do personal injury cases involve? That question has no single answer because each case is different. However, there are two broad categories of damages that can apply in any personal injury case.

  • Compensatory. Compensatory damages lie at the heart of almost every personal injury lawsuit. When defendants have to pay compensatory damages, they do so to pay the plaintiffs back for the harm they’ve suffered. Compensatory damages are intended to allow the injured plaintiffs to go back to the position they would have been in before suffering the harm caused by the defendant. Failing that, these damages pay plaintiffs for their injuries or suffering.
  • Punitive. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate victims, but rather, to punish a wrongdoer. These damages punish reckless or careless behavior, or actions that are so outrageous that the law says a defendant should have to pay money as a punishment. Punitive damage awards are relatively uncommon in personal injury cases, but they are possible in some cases.

Commonly Awarded Compensatory Damages

There are many different types of compensatory damages possible in any personal injury case. The exact damages that are appropriate will differ depending on the type of injury, the person who is injured, as well as the laws of the state in which the injury occurred.

  • Lost job or income. Someone who is hurt is often unable to work and earn an income. Compensatory damages for money you have lost, and money you will lose because of your injuries, are common in personal injury cases.
  • Medical expenses. An injured person usually requires medical assistance, and you are entitled to recover the money you lost.
    Pain and suffering. Being hurt is painful, and though damages cannot remove the pain, personal injury lawsuits often include compensatory damages for the pain you’ve experienced, or will experience in the future.

Compensatory damages are also appropriate when, for example, you’ve suffered emotionally or psychologically, you’ve had your property damaged, or you’ve lost the ability to enjoy life or engage in sexual relations.

A Difficult Calculation

Knowing how much money you’ll get from a personal injury case is a complicated issue. An injured person doesn’t usually have the ability to determine how much his or her case is worth without talking to an experienced attorney. Even if you don’t think you should sue, always talk to a lawyer first, so you can get an objective opinion about your case.

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4 Common Questions About Car Accidents and the Statute of Limitations

Question 1: What is a statute of limitations?

A statute of limitations is a specific kind of law that imposes a time limit on people who want to go to court. Think of a statute of limitations as a countdown timer. In car accident cases, your timer starts as soon as you are involved in an accident or learn that you have suffered damages as a result of an accident. If you want to file a lawsuit because of the car accident, you have to do so before the clock reaches zero.

Question 2: How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?

That depends on a number of different issues. Every state has its own statute of limitation laws and each of them determine how long you have to file a lawsuit. Additionally, some time limits apply to one kind of lawsuit, while other time limits apply to different types.

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How Does the Personal Injury Lawsuit Process Work?

When people get injured, they often have a lot of questions about the law and how the personal injury lawsuit process works. In general, there are a handful of steps that happen after someone experiences an injury. Though not all personal injury cases will go through each one of the following steps, anyone who is thinking about filing a personal injury claim can expect the following stages:

The Personal Injury Consultation

The first step in any personal injury lawsuit is meeting with a personal injury lawyer in your area. Because every state has different laws that apply to these cases, only attorneys who have experience handling cases in your geographic area can give you advice. A personal injury attorney will talk to you, ask you a series of questions, and evaluate the facts of your case in light of state and federal law. In the vast majority of situations, this initial consultation does not cost you anything.

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