Have you or someone you love been harmed by the carelessness or neglect of others? It may be in your best interest to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for the significant losses you have suffered every day for your injuries. Before pursuing a case, here are some answers to important questions you may have regarding your personal injury case.
Our attorneys at Cutler Rader, PL will review your case and explain the process in detail, so please contact our caring team today for a free consultation. Even if you hire us, there is no fee unless we recover for you. If you are unsure of how to pick a personal injury attorney (it is, after all, a very important decision), we suggest you watch our video, Picking a Personal Injury Attorney.
Why seek a personal injury case?
Personal injury cases can be a result of a physical injury, such as being in a car collision, a fall, or from a doctor’s incompetence. A person injured because of another’s negligence may want to seek fair compensation for the damages they suffered. After all, being injured and having thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages may have serious and life-long consequences.
The first thing we look at is liability. If you were hurt as a result of someone else’s carelessness, we determine who was at fault and in what percentages. For example, if you’re sitting in at a red light and get rear-ended, the other person is probably 100% at fault. Other cases have blame to go around, and that blame will be apportioned.
We also look at damages. Damages are the full amount of loss you’ve suffered, and what the money value of that damage is. These include economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic Damages: These are damages that can be easily counted and calculated. For example, if you have lost a week of work and you earn $750/week, then you have lost $750. Medical bills, lost earnings, repair costs, etc. are all forms of ‘economic damages’. If you had to hire people to do something you used to do yourself, such as landscaping, housekeeping, shopping, etc., this too is an economic damage.
Non-economic Damages: “Non-economic damages” are the human losses from an injury or death. The loss of a loved one and the guidance and the love they would have shared, the pain, suffering, hardship, humiliation and broken-heartedness of a physical injury are holes in our hearts that can never be filled. These damages can also include mental anguish, emotional distress and the loss of enjoyment of life’s activities. Non-economic damages are the losses of things that made life richer, happier, worth living. We know that you cannot put a price tag on love or pain-free living, but money sure can take away economic frustrations and pay for items that help lessen pain and for conveniences that make our lives easier. And we also know that nothing will bring a deceased person back to life, or restore our pain-free days. No amount of money will undo or compensate those losses. Yet, until the legal system comes up with a better way, money is our only option. As a result, we strive to get the most money possible for our clients to get them the justice they deserve.
Who is involved in a personal injury case?
Plaintiff/Claimant: This is the individual who was injured in the accident and making a claim against the defendant.
Defendant: This is the individual/party that was accused of wrongdoing causing the plaintiff’s injuries. This is also known as the ‘at-fault’ party.
Insurance Adjuster: A personal injury lawsuit may begin with an insurance claim. The insurance adjuster is a representative of the insurance company who is given a certain amount of latitude to settle the claim.
First-party insurance: The plaintiff’s own insurance.
Third-party insurance: The defendant’s insurance.
Attorneys: Both the plaintiff and the defendant may have an attorney to fight for their client’s best interest in the case.
What are the steps in a personal injury case?
- Intake and Initial Consultation – The process starts with the injured person calling an attorney’s office and going through an intake to gather information. Some information may be personal and some may seem irrelevant, but there is a good reason for every question. This is followed up with an initial consultation with the attorney. In many firms, you won’t meet with an attorney, but at Cutler Rader you will. The attorney will explain the rights the injured person has and discuss the nature of the accident, extent of injuries and the ways the accident affected the injured person’s life. At Cutler Rader, PL, the consultation is free and we make sure that you understand the process thoroughly. We answer all your questions and are here for you should you have additional questions (which you will) after our meeting.
- Investigation – Once an attorney is hired, he begins to investigate the claim and review the case. He will ask for details of the accident, prior and current medical conditions and all of the places the injured party received medical treatment for the injury. All medical records and bills that relate to the injury will be collected.
- Filing a Claim or Demand a Settlement – Most personal injury cases settle before they are ever filed in court. Even of the ones that are filed, few ever go as far as trial. For example, in auto accidents, a claim will first be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company before a lawsuit is filed. In Florida, drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If the injury was not caused by an auto accident, the attorney will discover who is at-fault and begin a claim with their insurance. After a claim is filed with the at-fault party’s insurance company, a claims adjuster will be assigned to investigate the case and negotiate a settlement.
- Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit – To begin, we urge you to watch our video, Litigation- Five Things you Need to Know. If a settlement cannot be reached, a lawsuit will be filed. During this process, parties and witnesses may be called to the stand to be examined and cross-examined by the attorneys. Evidence is presented. The trial ends with the judge or a jury making a final decision in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant.
If the ruling is in favor of the plaintiff, they will receive a set amount of compensation from the defendant. If the ruling is in favor of the defendant, the plaintiff will not receive any compensation.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney to Help With Your Case
If you or someone you love been harmed by the carelessness or neglect of others, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case. All initial consultations are always free with no obligation. Cutler Rader, PL can be reached at (954) 913-CASE (2273) or visit us at www.CutlerRader.com .