A personal injury can be a traumatic and life-changing event - and it can happen to anyone, at any time. You may need to know how to treat a burn or get an urgent medical assessment. You may be unable to work, and facing mounting medical bills.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, it's important to understand your legal rights. This is especially true if the incident occurred through the negligence of another person. If this subject is relevant to you right now, read on because this article will provide you with an easy guide to the subject.
What Are 'Legal Rights?'
Legal rights allow you to enforce what is right and what should be done. They protect us from the people who try to take advantage of us. This could include insurance companies that try to avoid paying compensation after a car accident or medical malpractice injury.
If we don't understand what our legal rights are, we won't know what steps needed to be taken and we could be exploited. As a result, we may end up unfairly losing out on a financial settlement that should rightfully be ours.
How A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Legal professionals can help you understand your legal rights after getting injured. Personal injuries often occur because another party breached their duty of care. Lawyers often negotiate with insurance companies to come up with an acceptable settlement offer and they can be your advocate and representative in court if necessary.
It would be your lawyer's task to create a legal claim for compensation and to collate the necessary evidence on your behalf. The internet is a good place to find highly experienced injury lawyers and they often provide free consultations and case evaluations. Their websites often feature previous legal victories, client testimonials, team photos and details of their awards and accreditations.
The Importance Of Compensation
It's your legal right to be financially reimbursed if another party was responsible for the incident. This money is meant to help you pay for all of the expenses that have been incurred as a result. There are three main types of compensation that an individual might receive:
Temporary Compensation - this typically includes medical bills which often occur when visiting the doctor or hospital in order to recover from your injuries. It also covers medication costs and lost wages if someone has had to take time off work.
Permanent Compensation - this covers the cost of all medical bills and rehabilitation services etc. It also takes into account any permanent damage that might need special attention as well.
Future Compensation - this can only be given if there's a chance that you'll suffer from your injuries for the rest of your life. The money could continue until death occurs, ensuring financial support throughout your life.
If You Are Injured At Work
In this scenario, workers' compensation benefits can cover a large number of your expenses. With a lawyer's guidance, you'll understand what documents are required for filing a successful claim. It's important to notify your employer as soon as you become injured and to keep good records when filing your injury claim. You need documentation in order to prove what happened during the accident, where it occurred and why, and the extent of your injuries. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the better chance you will have at winning in court.
Other helpful information to collect includes contact information for witnesses, photos of the scene/injury, doctor's documentation, insurance claim records from your employer (documenting time off due to accident/injury) and pay stubs showing how much you've been paid.
The Need For Evidence
Police Accident Reports
In cases such as road crashes the Police are often called. If they attend the scene they will likely record what happened in a Police report. In turn, this can provide vital evidence to support your claim.
If someone witnessed your accident, it's important to talk to them and get a written witness statement. If they are willing to give it to you, write down their contact information. You can then use them as witnesses if they're needed later on by the Police or your lawyer, and they can provide key evidence to back up your case.
It's essential that you receive immediate medical attention after the accident so that a medical record can be created. All the documentation that follows can be used by your lawyer when dealing with the other party's insurance company. This medical record may be the only evidence that your lawyer has to help prove that you did suffer injuries and how they were caused by the other party.
Some of this key evidence may include:
- Doctor's and specialist medical reports (including the final diagnosis)
- X-rays and MRI scans
- Medical bills (prescription medication, doctor and hospital invoices, physical or psychological therapy, etc.)
- Photos of your injuries
The Settlement Process
This can take a long time and here's how a lawyer can help you:
- by establishing liability (who is at fault for your injuries)
- asking witnesses questions under oath
- establishing damages (i.e. how badly were you injured?)
- determining how much compensation is fair based on these factors
A settlement offer may be made before a lawsuit is filed or it goes to court. If the offer is rejected, the injured party can file a suit in a civil court to seek damages for their losses. Your attorney can helps with the negotiations by:
- presenting all information about your claim (including liability, damages and other factors like lost wages)
- setting up appointments outside of normal business hours
- representing you during these negotiations
The key role of a personal injury lawyer is to ensure that your interests are protected at all times. This way you can seek a just financial settlement and receive the money that you justly deserve. Whilst it can't undo your injury, the money can help compensate you for the pain and suffering, and help you rebuild your life.