The world is a dangerous place. At some point, odds are you’ll be injured, whether it’s a car accident, a slip and fall at work, or a one-in-a-million chance freak accident.
Sometimes, accidents are just accidents, and there’s no one to blame but the universe, or God, for your injury. But sometimes, accidents are preventable. Sometimes there is someone to blame. When this happens, you may have a valid personal injury claim. In this post, we’ll cover what this means, how to go about suing for personal injury, and when to sue for personal injury.
What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit occurs when someone suffers a serious accident or injury and seeks legal remedy for damages from another party that may be responsible for said injury.
“Legal remedy” essentially means money, in this context.
A legal remedy can come through filing a personal injury lawsuit in court, or via an insurance claim filed with the at-fault party’s insurer (or in some cases, filed with your own insurer). Either a lawsuit or an insurance claim lets you recover compensation for damages. This means all your financial losses arising from the accident and your resulting injuries, which includes your medical bills, lost income, “pain and suffering,” and other kinds of losses. (We’ll discuss this in greater detail later.)
An Example of a Personal Injury Case
To simplify things, let’s use an example.
Say you were walking down the street one day, and up ahead, you see a subway vent on the ground. There are lots of other people on the street, and to avoid bumping into them, you walk across the subway vent, as you’ve done a thousand times before. But this time, unbeknownst to you, the vent is broken. You fall in, and you break your leg and suffer several bad scrapes and bruises.
Luckily, you were able to catch yourself on your way down, and a nearby pedestrian steps in to help you climb out of the hole. But you still have to call an ambulance to take you to the hospital.
After receiving medical treatment for your injuries, you might think to yourself, “wow, that was really unlucky.” But then it occurs to you that it wasn’t luck that caused you to get hurt – it was negligence. The New York City Transit Authority is in charge of the subway system. That includes all of the subway vents out on the street. It’s not right that they can let subway vents sit around broken like that. People could, and did, get hurt.
How do I know if I have a Personal Injury Claim?
In this example, the NYC Transit Authority can be held liable for your injuries.
This means that:
they had a legal responsibility to make sure that all of the subway vents on the street were safe for pedestrians
They did not fulfill this responsibility
And you were injured as a result of this.
Even giving them the benefit of the doubt, since things break after all, nobody was checking to make sure all the vents were safe to walk on, and nobody put up warning signs or blocked off the broken vent.
With all of these facts laid out, you definitely have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
In your personal injury lawsuit, you will have to prove all of these things to a court. The court must see that the party you are suing (NYC Transit Authority) neglected their responsibilities and you were injured as a result.
Then, the court will order the liable party to pay you compensation for your injuries.
Who Do I Sue in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In a personal injury lawsuit, you sue the party that is responsible for causing your injuries.
Figuring out who is responsible is not always as easy as it may seem.
In the subway vent example, there are workers who maintain the subway system that should have identified the broken vent and either fixed it, or put up barriers and signs to prevent people from getting hurt. Do you sue them?
Even though it is their job to do this, you will not sue an individual worker, since they are working on behalf of the New York City Transit Authority. You also won’t be suing their boss, even though it is his or her job to manage the workers. It is the responsibility of the entire organization to direct workers to fix these sorts of problems.
It’s not always so clear-cut though. A personal injury attorney can help you identify what party is at fault for your injuries.
How Much Should I Sue for Personal Injury?
So how much do you want from NYCTA? Well, your hospital bills came out to $50,000, so that’s a good start. But you also lost out on 2 weeks of work due to your injuries. So you might also argue that they owe you for 2 weeks’ pay, since you would have received that money if you never got hurt in the first place.
Then there’s physical therapy bills, since you’ll need to strengthen the muscles in your leg once the bone heals.
Maybe you work part time as a personal trainer, and now that your leg is broken, you can’t do that for several months. Or maybe you are also a competitive runner and this injury will force you to retire early.
There are all sorts of issues that can arise due to a personal injury, and many of these issues can increase the amount of compensation that a court will award you.
These are things that you will need to discuss with your personal injury lawyer before going to court.
Get Help with Your Case from an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Merson Law has an excellent track record of litigating cases that settle over $1 million. You can check out some of these cases here on our website.
Our team of personal injury lawyers can help you with your case too. We never charge hourly rates and only get paid if you win. For a free consultation, call us today or fill out our contact form to get started.