The fact that mishaps are fairly commonplace does not detract from the pain and confusion that can result when an accident or injury happens to you or a loved one. If you decide to take steps toward protecting your legal rights after an accident or injury, you probably have a number of general questions about personal injury cases.
What is a Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed, the latter of which is much more common:
- Formal Lawsuit: Unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government, a formal personal injury case typically starts when a private individual (the plaintiff) files a civil complaint against another person, business, or corporation (the defendant), alleging that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm.
- Informal Settlement In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through informal early settlements, usually among those personally involved in the accident or injury, their insurers, and attorneys representing each sides. A settlement commonly takes place through negotiations, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action, choosing instead to resolve the issue through payment of an agreeable amount of money.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Plaintiffs have a limited time in which to file a lawsuit, called a statute of limitations.” Generally speaking, the period of time dictated by a statute of limitations begins when the plaintiff is injured or discovers the injury.
Statutes of limitations are established by state law and often vary by type of injury. For instance, the statute of limitations for injuries to an individual in Florida is four year and four years for sex crimes but only two year for libel or slander.
Where are the Laws that Govern Personal Injury Cases?
Unlike other areas of the law that find their rules in statutes similar to penal codes in criminal cases, the development of personal injury law has taken place mostly through court decisions and in treatises written by legal scholars. Florida has taken steps to summarize the development of personal injury law in written statutes but for practical purposes court decisions remain the main source of the law in any legal case arising from an accident or injury.
Do I Have a Viable Personal Injury Case?
Any potential personal injury case requires a detailed understanding of the facts, the processes, and the law. If an accident has impacted your life, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney to see if you should pursue a lawsuit. Not sure if you have a case? Contact Us!