By VSCP LAW
Personal Injury Legal Protections: Know Your Rights
If you or your loved one suffered injuries because of the negligent actions of another person or entity, you could file a personal injury lawsuit (also called a negligence lawsuit). But what is a personal injury lawsuit? What are your personal injury legal protections? Read on for personal injury law explained: what it is, and what you can expect.
Personal Injury Cases are Civil (not Criminal) Cases
Personal injury cases are civil cases. They are different from what you may have seen on
television when you’ve watched a courtroom drama for a homicide or criminal case, for instance. In criminal cases, a district attorney or a prosecutor will bring a criminal prosecution on behalf of the government against the defendant. And if the defendant is found to be guilty of the crime, they can be sent to prison and/or receive some other type of punishment. When a criminal defendant is sent to prison, our criminal justice system has two main objectives: to punish the defendant and to deter others from committing the same crime. That first objective – to punish the defendant – is the way we hold criminal defendants accountable for their actions.
In civil cases, we have a different judicial and trial system, but we have the same objectives: to hold the defendant accountable and to deter other potential future defendants from committing the same error.
Specific Regulations, Rules, and Statutes
There are essential regulations, rules of law, and statutes that apply to your case. One such rule is the Statute of Limitations. Each state has its own Statute of Limitations so it will be important for your personal injury lawyer to have keen knowledge of the state’s law. If you fail to comply with your state’s Statute of Limitations, you will lose your legal right to file your personal
injury lawsuit. Not only will you lose your right to file your personal injury lawsuit, but you also forfeit your right to be compensated for your injuries and seek reimbursement of the costs of your injuries (such as medical bills and wage loss, discussed in more detail below).
Under Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations law, for instance, you have two years to file a lawsuit, starting from when you knew or should have known that your injury was the result of the defendant’s actions or negligent behavior.
To comply with this rule, the best time to contact a personal injury lawyer to evaluate the facts and file your lawsuit is as soon as possible. The earlier, the better. As soon as you are able after the injury occurs, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Civil Complaint, Including Claims for Personal Injury Damages
Your negligence attorney will also file a Complaint in the court. The Complaint will set forth the legal support for your injury case and list all possible claims. The Complaint’s averments (or, assertions) will vary, depending on what kind of personal injury lawsuit you are filing. Personal injury cases could involve, for instance, vehicle accidents, premises liability, sexual assault, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.
The Complaint will ask for compensation for your injuries, often claiming both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are quantifiable – in other words, the exact figure can be established
with documentation. They include medical expenses, disability expenses, physical therapy, lost wages, and loss of future earnings.
Non-economic damages are not quantifiable – they are more of a subjective assessment of the
sad consequences of a personal case. They include loss of quality of life, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, disfigurement, scarring, and emotional distress.
If you’ve been injured, you have the right to file a civil cause of action for your injuries. You have the right to hold the defendant accountable for their actions. An experienced personal injury attorney will help you file (and win!) your personal injury lawsuit. Find one at VSCP Law.
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