When to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
The aftermath of a serious injury can be overwhelming. Hospital visits, prescriptions, and surgeries can cause medical bills to skyrocket. Time taken off work can quickly chew through PTO and vacation and cause a loss in wages. On top of the financial costs, the emotional toll of an injury is a significant.
The good news? If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another person, you may be able to hold that person financially responsible through a personal injury lawsuit. A successful case may help you pay your bills, replace your lost wages, and ease your stress.
You might be wondering if you should hire a personal injury lawyer. This article can help you answer that question!
Keep reading to learn how to determine when to hire a personal injury lawyer.
Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
First, we need to talk about the types of situations when a lawsuit might be appropriate. If your case involves any of the following scenarios, you might consider speaking to a personal injury lawyer:
- Car, bike, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident
- Slip/fall on an uneven or icy surface
- Medical malpractice
- Dog bite
- Wrongful death
- Workplace accident
- Defective product (also known as product liability)
- Assault/battery (or other injuries caused on purpose)
If you’re not sure if a personal injury claim is appropriate in your case, it’s a good idea to ask a knowledgeable attorney.
Statute of Limitations
In Ohio, personal injury lawsuits have a time limit, called the “statute of limitations.” In order to file a claim, you must do so within two years of the date of the injury. If this date passes, you will likely be barred from filing, and you won’t be able to receive any compensation! (There are few exceptions.)
In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the person’s passing. This date might be different from the date of the accident.
Personal Injury & Fault
When it comes to personal injury claims, fault is key.
In Ohio, “comparative fault” laws govern who is and is not permitted to make a claim to compensation. Under comparative fault laws, you are allowed to collect compensation only if the other person is 51 percent or more at fault. (Basically, this means you cannot sue someone if you were more at fault for the accident than they were.)
Comparative fault laws also affect how much compensation you are able to receive. Let’s say that you are awarded $50,000. If you are found to be 0 percent at fault, you would receive the entire $50,000. However, if you are found to be 10 percent at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 10 percent. In that case, you would receive $45,000.
As you can see, who is at fault (and by how much) is very important! Proving fault is a significant part of a personal injury claim.
If fault is uncertain in your case, it can help to have an attorney on your side. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you collect and present the evidence needed to prove fault in your case.
Types of Damages in Personal Injury Cases
There are two general types of damages awarded in a personal injury case: compensatory and punitive. Let’s talk about each of these in depth.
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate you for your losses. Here are the types of compensatory damages:
- Medical treatment: This type of compensation covers the costs of the medical treatment you needed because of the accident. It can include medical treatment you’ve already paid for and payment for the estimated medical treatment you’ll need in the future.
- Lost income: If you missed work and lost income because of your injuries, this type of compensation covers that. In addition, you might also be able to receive compensation for “loss of earning capacity.” This covers future income you would likely have earned if you hadn’t been injured.
- Loss of property: This type compensates you for the repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle, clothing, or other property.
- Pain and suffering: You may be able to get compensation for the pain and suffering you endured as a result of your injury.
- Emotional distress: This type of compensation covers the emotional and mental effects of an injury—like anxiety, fear, insomnia, etc.
- Loss of enjoyment: If you are unable to enjoy your hobbies as a result of your injuries, this is designed to compensate you for that.
- Loss of consortium: Essentially, this compensates you for any negative impacts the injuries have had on your relationship with your spouse.
If you have suffered financial and emotional losses as a result of your injury, you might consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to talk about potential compensation in your case.
Punitive damages are awarded in certain cases, when the person’s behavior was especially careless or negligent. This type of compensation is designed to punish the wrong-doer. It’s also designed to deter other people from doing the same type of behavior in the future by making an example of the defendant.
Still Have Questions?
If you have questions, we’re here to answer them. We are happy to help you determine whether or not you should hire a personal injury lawyer.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney at Casper & Casper. We’ll go over your case, answer any questions you may have, and let you know your options.