Accidents that cause injury are traumatic and disruptive. They affect not only the lives of the victims, but also the lives of their family members. Sometimes other people or businesses are at fault and are legally responsible for the accidents and resulting injuries.
If there is any question at all about whether persons or businesses are responsible for an accident and resulting injuries, then the victims or their families should a competent and ethical personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury lawsuits are not as easy to prosecute as movies and television shows suggest. The law requires accident victims to comply with many requirements in order to recover compensation for their injuries and losses. The Johnson law firm knows those requirements and how to comply with them, so that accident victims have the best chance to recover the damages to which they are entitled.
Their attorneys have decades of experience working diligently and compassionately with accident victims to build claims, achieve favorable settlements in most cases, and present the strongest cases possible at trial when defendants or their insurance companies do not make reasonable settlement offers.
There are many considerations that accident victims and their families should bear in mind after an accident. These eight (8) facts about personal injury lawsuits are among the most important that accident victims and their families should remember.
1. Time Is Not On Your Side
The law imposes strict time limits that restrict how long accident victims have to file lawsuits. These time limits are known as statutes of limitation. Different time limits apply to different types of claims. Sometimes different victims of the same accident are subject to different time limits, and sometimes different defendants benefit from shorter time limits than others.
In order to ensure that accident victims do not lose the opportunity to recover damages due to the passage of time, victims or their families should consult with counsel as quickly as possible in order to identify potentially responsible parties and determine what time limits apply to lawsuits against each potentially responsible party.
2. Preserve The Evidence
Accident victims want to focus on recovering from their injuries and returning their lives to normal. The law, however, requires accident victims and their families to focus on other things. One such requirement is that accident victims preserve evidence. Accident victims who may want to file personal injury lawsuits have an obligation to act reasonably to preserve evidence that relates to the accidents or their injuries and losses.
A competent and ethical personal injury attorney can explain exactly what the law requires accident victims to do to preserve evidence. If there is any question at all about whether a specific piece of evidence must be preserved, that evidence should be preserved as long as a personal injury lawsuit is ongoing or is a possibility.
Accident victims who do not take reasonable steps to preserve evidence may lose the right to recover damages from the parties who are legally responsible.
3. Don’t Break The Rules
Every court system has rules of procedure that govern how cases are prepared for trial and how trials are conducted. Those procedural rules require accident victims to provide certain information and documents to the parties they are suing, to submit to questioning under oath, and sometimes to undergo medical examinations performed by doctors who are selected and paid by the parties they are suing.
It is vitally important that accident victims comply with the procedural rules governing their lawsuits; if they violate the rules, then they might lose the right to recover compensation from the parties who are responsible for their injuries.
4. Cooperation Is Key
Attorneys who handle personal injury lawsuits have many tools to represent their clients. Experience and expertise are important, but what maybe even more important is the information that accident victims and their families provide. Personal injury lawyers cannot effectively represent accident victims unless their clients provide information, documents, and other evidence promptly when asked.
Attorneys need information and evidence in order to identify all of the potentially responsible parties, help accident victims comply with rules of procedure, build the strongest cases possible, and identify and address any weaknesses in the case.
5. Sometimes Your Word Is Not Enough
What matters in personal injury lawsuits is what the accident victims can prove. In some ways, their testimony is the most important evidence, but there are certain facts that cannot be proven without expert testimony.
Medical experts are usually required to establish what the injuries are and to connect them to the accidents. Sometimes engineers or other appropriate qualified experts are required to explain how accidents happened and why the defendants are responsible.
6. Treat Yourself Right
Usually, when doctors give patients medical advice, the patients simply have to decide whether the treatment is right for them. Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits can complicate medical decisions. The law requires accident victims to mitigate their damages, which means that they must take reasonable steps to try to recover from their injuries.
Accident victims must aware that if they do not follow their doctors’ treatment recommendations, then the damages that they can recover from the responsible parties might be reduced.
7. Don’t Talk About Insurance
Most people and businesses who are sued in personal injury lawsuits have insurance to cover the claims against them. Whether there is insurance and if so how much will affect the strategy that personal injury lawyers pursue and the advice they give their clients. Although most people know that there is usually insurance (especially in cases involving motor vehicle accidents), procedural rules do not allow accident victims or their lawyers to mention insurance except in very limited circumstances.
If someone mentions insurance improperly during a trial, then the judge will probably declare a mistrial, which means that justice and compensation for the accident victim will be further delayed.
8. There Is No Guarantee
The old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” applies to personal injury lawsuits. Accident victims and their attorneys can do everything right to prepare and present their cases, but ultimately juries and judges will make decisions that cannot be controlled. Sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes jurors and judges focus on the unexpected and make decisions based on considerations that accident victims and their lawyers could not and did not foresee.
Personal injury lawsuits are subject to complicated laws and rules. Violating or ignoring those laws and rules will often prevent an accident victim from recovering the compensation to which he or she is entitled. Choosing a competent and ethical personal injury lawyer who knows those laws and rules, and cooperating fully with that lawyer, will make the process of recovering damages from the responsible parties easier.