Posts tagged with 'lawsuit'

What Does The Average Personal Injury Case Look Like?

For many people who have never had to file a lawsuit or even talk to a lawyer, the idea that you’ll have to sue somebody after you suffer a personal injury can be remarkably stressful. Few people enjoy conflict, and the thought of fighting in court to recover money for your injuries can be enough to stop you from ever reaching out for assistance in the first place.

Unfortunately, a lot of people operate under some significant misconceptions when it comes to the personal injury lawsuit process. The process itself is often far less stressful than many people initially believe it to be. To help dispel some of these common misconceptions, let’s look at how the average personal injury lawsuit works, and what it requires.

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What is a Discovery of Harm?

Posted on May 19, 2015

What is a Discovery of Harm?

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits there are a lot of terms and ideas, such as the discovery of harm, with which most people are unfamiliar. These kinds of terms, though important, will usually require an attorney’s explanation in order for you to fully understand how they apply to your case. This is primarily because it is hard for most people to apply concepts such as the discovery of harm to their individual case because most people don’t have the requisite legal background.

Nevertheless, going into the personal injury process with a good base of knowledge will always be in your best interests. Understanding the legal terms you come across, and understanding what they might mean for your case, will allow you to be a much bigger part of the process, as well as allow you to make more knowledgeable decisions. To that end, let’s take a look at the discovery of harm.

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Common Terminology in Personal Injury Cases – Part 2

Suffering a personal injury is not something any of us want to experience. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been harmed by someone else and need to file a personal injury lawsuit, you can help make the process a lot easier by doing some basic research. Previously we looked at some common terminology that many people encounter during the personal injury lawsuit process. In this follow-up post, we’re going to take a look at some more terms you might come across that you might otherwise not be very familiar with.

  • Affidavit. An affidavit is a document that contains a written statement of facts. The person making the affidavit and stating the facts it contains is known as an affiant. In order to make an affidavit, you have to make your written statement of facts under oath or affirmation that they are true. You typically do this in the presence of a licensed public notary. Affidavits can contain almost any facts relevant to your case, and can be made by almost anyone as long as that person is a mentally capable adult.
  • Discovery. Discovery is the legal process of investigating the facts surrounding a case. The discovery process typically begins after you file a personal injury lawsuit or demand letter. Discovery includes a variety of methods that each side can use to determine what happened, such as interrogatories and depositions.
  • Deposition. A deposition is when a witness gives testimony about the case outside of the courtroom and before a trial takes place. A deposition is simply a way to get someone to give testimony without the necessity of having to go before a court. Depositions are part of the discovery process, and can involve almost anyone related to a case.
  • Interrogatory. An interrogatory is a list of questions that either side involved in a case sends to the other side, or to witnesses or experts involved in it. The questions ask for specific information about the facts surrounding the case. Interrogatories are also a part of the discovery process.
  • Preponderance of the Evidence. In personal injury cases, the person who files the lawsuit (the plaintiff) has to provide evidence to show that the other party (the defendant) violated the plaintiff’s rights by a preponderance of the evidence. This simply means that the weight of the evidence presented by the plaintiff makes it more likely than not that the defendant violated is at fault. In other words, you have to have evidence that shows the defendant acted wrongfully, and that evidence has to be convincing.
  • Judgment. Most personal injury cases settle before going to trial. However, if the case goes to trial, a court will have to make a determination about the outcome. This decision is known as a judgment. If the court rules in the plaintiff’s favor, the judgment will include a determination of the type of damages to which the court believes the plaintiff is allowed. In other words, judgment says how much you win if you win your personal injury case.

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personal-injury-terminology-part-1

The personal injury lawsuit process is complicated, time-consuming, and, to people who have little background in the law, often difficult to understand. Lawyers and legal professionals use a lot of terms that many people don’t encounter in their daily lives. Though these terms have specific meanings and allow attorneys to be precise when they speak, that doesn’t exactly make it easier for their clients and non-legal professionals to be able to easily follow along.

Because most people don’t have a legal background and don’t have a good grasp of the legal terminology involved in their personal injury case, it can be useful to take a little time to become more familiar with some of the terms you might come across.

Personal Injury Legal Terms

  • Complaint. A complaint is a lawsuit. When you want to file a personal injury complaint, you file documents with a court clerk, pay a filing fee, and then begin the lawsuit process. (Depending on the state in which you live, your complaint might also be known as a petition, or by some other term.) The complaint will contain specific information, such as allegations about what happened, a demand for compensation, and a request to go to trial.
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What is a Confidential Settlement?

Posted on February 3, 2015

What is a Confidential Settlement?

There is so much that goes on in the personal injury lawsuit process that it can seem very strange to people who are not familiar with it. One of these is the confidential settlement agreement. Even though not all personal injury lawsuits result in settlements, and not all settlements are confidential, knowing what a confidential settlement is can help you understand how the personal injury lawsuit process works.

Demand Letters, Lawsuits, Trials, and Settlements

When people get hurt they often visit a lawyer so they can file a lawsuit. But the personal injury lawsuit process doesn’t necessarily begin immediately thereafter. In many, if not most, personal injury cases, the case begins after your lawyer sends a demand letter to the defendant. (The defendant is the person or organization you believe caused you your injuries.) The demand letter states the basis for any lawsuit you might file, explains the nature of your injuries, and asks the defendant to pay money in compensation.

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Tolling and the Statute of Limitations

Posted on January 23, 2015

Tolling and the Statute of Limitations

Tolling a statute of limitations is often very important for people involved in personal injury cases. We’ve blogged about statute of limitations in personal injury cases before, but it’s a good idea to go over the basics. Essentially, a statute of limitations is a ticking clock that applies to your case. After you suffer an injury, you have to file your case within the amount of time specified by your state’s statute of limitations or you are prevented from doing so. With tolling, the time you have to file a lawsuit is effectively extended.

Stopping the Clock

When we talk about tolling the statute of limitations, what we are talking about is putting the statute of limitations ticking clock on pause. Tolling allows people to suspend or delay the statute of limitations time limit. Depending on your circumstances, there can be several reasons why you might be able to pause the statute of limitations and give yourself more time than you would otherwise have to file a lawsuit.

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What is a Contingency Fee?

Posted on January 17, 2015

What is a Contingency Fee?

When people visit a personal injury attorney for the first time, they’re often worried about the costs. What if you don’t have the money to pay legal fees? If you don’t have enough money, do you have any other options?

Contingency fees are designed to address these concerns. A contingency fee is an agreement between you and your lawyer in which the lawyer agrees to only get paid if you win your case. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.

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Crime? Tort? Lawsuit? None of the Above?

Posted on January 10, 2015

Crime? Tort? Lawsuit? None of the Above?

Why You Need to Understand the Differences between Crimes, Torts, and Lawsuits and How They Play a Role in Your Personal Injury Case

It isn’t unusual for people who have little or no legal background to contact an attorney after they become injured or cause someone else to suffer an injury. These people tend to have a lot of questions. For example, they often wonder if they can be sent to jail for what they did. Others who have suffered an injury because of someone else’s actions want to know if they can press criminal charges or file a lawsuit.

While it’s easy to confuse the issues of criminal actions and lawsuits, they are really two very separate issues. If you are involved in a personal injury case of any kind, you need to be clear about the differences, and how they might affect you.

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Being Prepared For Your Independent Medical Examination

As part of a personal injury lawsuit, you might be asked to participate in an independent medical examination. The examination, also known as an IME, is designed to allow the defendant in your personal injury lawsuit to discover facts about the nature and extent of your injuries. You should always speak to your lawyer before you participate in a medical examination, but in the meantime, here are some tips you might want to keep in mind.

Honesty is the Best Policy

It’s natural to feel defensive when you have to be examined by a doctor who is working for, or on behalf of, the insurance company protecting the person you’re suing. Many people in this situation feel like they need to protect themselves by exaggerating the facts, or by hiding details they feel do not help them.

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What are Damage Caps in a Personal Injury Case?

When you are injured in an accident, or suffer any kind of personal or medical-related injury, you deserve to recover the money you’re entitled to. Unfortunately, in many situations where people suffer a personal injury, state laws limit the amount of money they can recover. These laws, known as damage caps, impose monetary limits in various types of personal injury cases. Like many other personal injury restrictions, the details of these laws differ significantly from state to state. Nevertheless, understanding how damage cap laws work is something that can help you understand the personal injury lawsuit process.

Damage Caps

When we talk about damage caps, what we are talking about is limitations on the amount of money you can win. State damage cap laws impose these limits regardless of what the facts of a case is. For example, if you are paralyzed by someone else’s negligence, state damage cap laws can limit how much you would be able to recover regardless of your age, how you make your living, or any other factor. So, an already ill elderly person who is disabled as a result of an injury would be limited to the same amount of damages as a young person raising a family.

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