Personal injury law is an incredibly important part of our legal system – and it’s also remarkably misunderstood. It’s a blessing that most of us don’t have a reason to know much about personal injury law, but it’s dangerous to go through life without at least a passing familiarity of what this area of law entails. Like it or not, we can’t guarantee that we’ll never need the services of a personal injury lawyer. With that in mind, we need to learn a few things about how personal injury law works, what it is and isn’t, when we might need the help of an attorney, and how to go about finding the right lawyer and getting the ideal result for our case.
Personal injury law basics
Personal injury law is an area of tort law. In our legal system, torts are acts that lead to legal liability. What does that mean? Well, it just means that a tort is anything you do that should, in the eyes of the law, make the consequences your responsibility.
So what makes you liable? The key to personal injury law is negligence. If you commit a tort, it means you were negligent in some important way.
Let’s give an example. Many personal injury cases hinge on car accidents. So let’s imagine a car accident: Is there a tort? Actually, we don’t know – there’s not enough information. So let’s add some details to our story and say that this car accident happened when your brakes stopped working and you hit another car. Are you liable?
With the information we have here, the answer is no! You were not negligent – but there’s a possibility that someone else, like your mechanic or the manufacturer of your car, was.
What about a different version of the story: This time, your brakes work just fine, and you hit the other car because you are drunk. Are you liable? You bet! That’s a tort, and personal injury law is there to help your victim recover.
Imagine now that you’re the victim – you were hit by someone else. Think of the consequences. You could be physically hurt and mentally scarred, overwhelmed by hospital bills and doctor’s bills (a serious and all-too-common problem in our country), and unable to work and earn money for your family because of a temporary injury or, worse yet, a permanent disability. The personal injury laws in most states allow you to get compensation for all of these very real damages.
Do you need an attorney?
This article lays out some basics about personal injury law, but it is not a work of legal scholarship and does not constitute legal advice. So where can you get that sort of thing? From a lawyer, of course!
You should consider getting an attorney if you think there’s any chance that damages you are suffering could fit the bill for a personal injury case. And if you’re not sure, well, that’s a good sign that you should consult an expert – a personal injury attorney!
So do your research, ask around, read reviews, and head to a reputable local attorney. You should look for someone who specializes in personal injury cases similar to yours (for instance, if your accident was a car accident, you may want to look for a car accident lawyer), explain Ben Davis and Zackeree Kelin of the Davis Kelin Law Firm. Make an appointment for an initial consultation, and bring along any documentation that you have related to your case: Medical bills, police reports, pay stubs (showing loss of income), and more. And act fast, because you want to give your attorney as much time as possible and act while evidence is still fresh. Speaking to the attorney, you’ll soon learn more about your options.