If you have been the victim of a personal injury accident, it is important to understand some basic legal terms that may apply to your case as well as how your case is likely to progress toward a conclusion. Of course, your attorney will handle the progress of your case, but many clients like to know what is happening “behind the scenes” to recover compensation for them.
What Is A Personal Injury?
Many people are confused by the term “personal injury.” A personal injury describes the harm you suffer when someone else commits an act or omission to act. The underlying idea that allows you to collect damages for your injury is the idea of liability. The person, organization, or group that injured you may be legally responsible for your injury.
There are several other terms that should be defined to give you a better idea of what your attorneys mean when they use these words:
- Civil courts—courts that hear non-criminal cases. Depending on the incident that caused your injury, there might be criminal charges against the perpetrator as well as a civil case filed by you, the victim. Criminal charges can result in jail time and other penalties, but civil violations are punished by awarding damages to the victim. For example, a drunk driver might receive jail time and a fine for breaking the law, but the injuries he or she caused would be litigated in civil court.
- Liability—Liability is the responsibility someone bears for their actions. In the context of an injury case, we say that someone has liability for causing, directly or indirectly, the injury or harm you have suffered. This is the person or entity we will file suit against to recover damages.
- Injury—the invasion of your legal rights. Injuries can be physical, mental, or emotional.
- Harm—the loss that you suffer as a result of an injury.
- Damages/compensation—the money or other consideration you recover for your injuries
How Do I Recover Damages After A Personal injury Accident?
Once you have established, to the court’s satisfaction, that you have suffered injury and harm, the court can choose to award damages to you. These damages can vary widely and may include everything from money to requiring someone to complete an action or honor the terms of an agreement.
The process through which you recover damages can be very complicated. First, you must file a claim against the proper individuals or companies who have liability for your injuries. It can be tricky to figure out exactly who is responsible. After you file suit, you must pursue the discovery of the facts of your case so that you can present them to the court. This can require depositions and subpoenas to collect records and testimony. Finally, if the case is not settled, a trial will be held in which both you and the defendant will have a chance to present evidence to the court. The judge or jury will then decide if you have a valid claim and settle on an amount to award for damages.
The personal injury attorneys at Barber and Associates are here to help you navigate this complicated legal maze. We will work with you to ensure that your claim is protected and that you recover the full measure of damages to which you are entitled. Contact us today to discuss your case.