When speaking with a personal injury attorney, you're likely to hear many terms thrown around. It's a good idea to have an idea of the basic language used in the field of personal injury law before you move ahead with a case. Here are four of the biggest concepts you'll want to be familiar with.
The process of seeking compensation doesn't usually move forward until a claim is filed. A letter of intent will be sent to the parties that are believed to be responsible for the injuries a client has suffered. This will include an outline of what the injuries were, why the defendant is thought to be responsible and how much compensation is desired.
If the defendant has insurance, the insurance carrier will assign a claims adjuster. This person will assess the validity of the claim and may offer a settlement if they find the claim valid.
Defendants may reject claims, accept them, or attempt to negotiate settlements. If the claim is rejected or negotiations prove to be unsatisfactory, the client and their personal injury attorney may press a lawsuit.
Litigation encourages defendants to reconsider settling. More importantly, it opens up the discovery process, where parties have to disclose all the materials they have on the case. Damning evidence turned up in discovery may give a plaintiff the cudgel they need to press a difficult defendant into settling. It's worth noting that the vast majority of cases, even ones where litigation is started, never go to trial.
This is the term for the compensation that is awarded to a plaintiff in a settlement or judgment. Compensation may be provided for actual damages covering things like medical bills, lost wages, and damaged property. Punitive damages might be awarded during a trial if a defendant's actions are declared especially reprehensible. Damages may also be awarded for things like loss of companionship and emotional harm, although each state has its own rules on these types of damages.
A Duty of Care
For liability to apply in a case, a defendant must have what's called a duty of care. This is a responsibility that's assigned when reasonable members of either society at large or a specific profession would say someone should know to take care when doing something. Driver's hanging left-hand turns, for example, have a duty of care to identify vehicles and people that are in the vicinity before they make a turn.
For more information, contact law firms like Carter & Fulton, P.S.
If you are unable to work because of an illness or injury, you may qualify for social security disability payments. This money comes from a fund you have probably contributed to during your time in the work force, and it is likely that you have the right to disability payments using this money. As an attorney specializing in social security disability, I have a great deal of experience in helping clients determine if they qualify for disability payments. I hope that this blog will help people who have been injured understand what it means to qualify for social security disability benefits and how to go about getting that help.