The Basics of Personal Injury Cases
There is no shame in suffering an injury, especially if it is the fault of another person or institution. Even if another party is partially at fault for your pain, it is possible to obtain compensation with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in New Orleans. Below, we look at personal injury cases, the steps for filing a claim, negligence and Louisiana’s unique statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits.
The Basics of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases are legal disputes that emerge after an individual is harmed from an injury in which another person or institution might be legally responsible for the harm. The challenge is proving the other party’s negligence. As detailed below, negligence is the failure to provide due care. Personal injury law has gradually developed across the years as court decisions have been passed down.
If you suffer a personal injury and another person or party is even slightly responsible, your personal injury lawyer in New Orleans will file a civil lawsuit on your behalf or attempt to reach a mutually beneficial solution through settlement negotiations. In some instances, personal injury cases are resolved with alternative dispute resolution, also known as ADR. ADR is the happy medium between informal settlement negotiations and a trial. As an example, plenty of injury victims have attained justice through arbitration and mediation as opposed to pursuing a civil lawsuit or an out-of-court settlement.
Examples of Personal Injury Cases
All different types of injuries can lead to a lucrative personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, the victim is partially at fault for his or her injury. In other situations, the negligent party is fully responsible for the injury. There are also some instances in which injuries result from accidents no one is responsible for. If you suspect another person or institution is even slightly at fault for your injury, you have legal footing for a personal injury lawsuit. It is imperative you meet with our personal injury lawyer in New Orleans for a review of your case. We will review the facts of your case and determine if another person or institution is fully or partially liable for your injuries.
The simplest example of a personal injury is one in which an individual is injured after another party’s intentional acts. Examples of such acts that lead to another individual’s injuries include slander, assault and battery. Slander is the crime of making a false verbal statement that damages another person’s reputation. Assault and battery is the crime of threatening an individual with physical harm. However, assault is not the same as battery. These are two distinct crimes, typically committed in unison. Assault is the threat of physical violence. Battery is the actual physical act of harming another person.
Though the offending party’s intention might not have been to cause harm, his or her intention to perform a specific act is enough for legal liability. As an example, if someone kicks a stepping stool out from under someone in anger or as a prank and the action causes the victim to fall, the offending party could be held liable for the injuries. Though this individual might not have meant to harm the victim in such a manner, he or she certainly intended to kick the stool. Therefore, it is possible to sue the offending party for compensation. Such compensation should cover pain and suffering as well as related medical expenses, time lost at work and diminished earning capacity.
Injuries stemming from medical malpractice or even a medication prescribed by a doctor can also spur a personal injury lawsuit. Even those sickened by food poisoning have a solid case for a successful personal injury lawsuit. The bottom line is anyone or any institution that fails to provide due care to others should face a personal injury lawsuit and pay damages.
Negligence Explained in Layman’s Terms
The average person has heard about negligence yet is slightly unsure as to what it really means. Negligence is the failure of a person, group or institution to provide due care for others. An individual or institution acting in a negligent manner can be held responsible for another individual’s injuries. The challenge is finding a personal injury lawyer in New Orleans capable of proving another party guilty of negligence.
There are several elements of negligence. The plaintiff must prove the opposing party or institution had a duty, intentionally breached that duty,or at least partially the cause of the breach and should subsequently pay damages. The plaintiff’s lawyer is tasked with proving each of these elements. Duty refers to the legal duty the defendant owed the plaintiff. Breach means a violation of the legal duty with actions or failing to act in a specific way. Causation means the defendant’s actions or failure to act is the cause of the plaintiff’s injury. If the plaintiff is injured or harmed because of the injury, damages must be paid as dictated by the court.
- Duty: When lawyers evaluate negligence claims, they immediately attempt to determine if the defendant owed the injured party a legal duty of care. In certain cases, the relationship between these two parties might spur a legal duty. As an example, physicians have a legal duty to provide patients with helpful medical care. Furthermore, a legal duty to provide due care is necessary in all sorts of situations such as operating a motor vehicle.
- Breach of Duty: If a reasonably prudent individual breaches his or her duty by acting or failing to act as a reasonably prudent individual would in such a situation, there is a good chance a personal injury lawsuit will prove successful. As an example, an individual who fails to operate a motor vehicle with the proper level of care near others or others’ property and causes an injury/property damage can be found guilty of negligence.
- Causation: Personal injury lawyers must prove the accused party’s negligence caused the defendant’s injury. Though an individual can act in a negligent manner, the plaintiff will only recover if the negligence contributed to the injury. Furthermore, this element of negligence examines whether the defendant could have foreseen the action in question caused the injury.
- Damages: This is the element of negligence every plaintiff and personal injury attorney strives toward. The court is responsible for compensating the plaintiff for the injury, typically through financial compensation for related expenses such as property repair or medical costs.
Louisiana’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Personal injury victims must understand the clock is ticking. You must file a personal injury lawsuit within a specific period. This window of opportunity is known as the statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking as soon as the plaintiff’s injuries appear. Louisiana’s statute of limitations is different from that of other states. Furthermore, the type of personal injury plays a part in determining the statute of limitations. An injured party who misses the deadline to file a personal injury lawsuit has no recourse to obtain compensation for pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to stop allegedly injured parties from using a lawsuit as leverage over the other party across posterity. Furthermore, this window of time helps ensure the integrity of evidence such as witness testimony.
Louisiana is quite different from other states in that just about every civil action has a statute of limitations that lasts merely one year. The typical state’s statute of limitations is between two and five years. All injury victims should know the Pelican State’s statute of limitations is merely one year for personal injury as well as injury to personal property, libel/slander and professional malpractice. Readers should also be aware that state laws have the potential to change through new case law or legislation. It is always best to contact a personal injury lawyer in New Orleans for the latest information regarding the nuances of Louisiana’s personal injury laws.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
Putting the legal wheels in motion to file a personal injury claim is easier than most injured parties assume. The first step is to obtain medical treatment for your injury. Once treated, take some time to detail the incident in-depth. Write down exactly what happened. If possible, take pictures of the area in which the injury occurred as well as the injury itself. If anyone witnessed the injury, take down their information. You can even record their statements with your smartphone’s recording device. Every single detail matters in the battle for justice. When in doubt, err on the side of recording more details rather than less. Even the subtlest detail has the potential to make or break your personal injury case.
Once you have documented the injury, the next step is to find an experienced personal injury lawyer. This professional will discuss your case, explain your legal options and craft a legal strategy that paves the way to justice. Your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit if the statute of limitations referenced above has not expired. The lawsuit commences with a civil complaint against the person or party responsible for the injury. Individuals, corporations, small businesses, government agencies and any other group qualify as potential defendants in personal injury lawsuits.
Injured? Contact our Personal Injury Lawyer in New Orleans Today
Injured in any way? Suspect another party or institution even has partial responsibility for your pain or related expenses? Reach out to our personal injury lawyer in New Orleans. We will review the facts of your case, and develop the optimal legal strategy. We will fiercely advocate on your behalf until you deserve justice. Give us a call at (504) 345-1111 to schedule a free consultation. Our office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We will also field your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting our personal injury lawyer in New Orleans. We will not charge a fee unless we win your case. If you prefer to contact us online, click our LiveChat feature and one of our friendly representatives will help you schedule an initial no-cost consultation.