Personal Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury lawsuit requires an attorney that litigates and files lawsuits.
A personal injury case is a civll case for money damages against the person or entity that caused someone harm. In a personal injury case, the injured person is the plaintiff and the wrongdoer is the defendant. A personal injury case includes vehicle, truck, and motorcycle accidents, pedestrian injuries, medical malpractice, psychiatric malpractice, slip and falls, products liability, dog bites, assaults, sexual abuse/assault, nursing home abuse/neglect, and civil rights cases including jail or police misconduct and discrimination.
What Kind of Damages Can You Ask For in a Personal Injury Case?
In a civil case, you can ask for damages related to your injury that can be proven by evidence, documents, and/or witnesses. The damages include:
- Medical expenses for your care and treatment in the past and what will be needed in future;
- Lost wages or money lost due to time off from work;
- Loss of earning capacity if you are unable to continue to work in the future;
- Mental anguish and emotional distress, such as trauma, stress, anxiety, sadness, despair, and insomnia due to the event, injuries, and/or the inability to care for yourself and family;
- Physical pain and suffering as a result of the injuries;
- Physical impairment and disability as a result of the injuries;
- Punitive damages, which is a special type of damage to deter the conduct of the wrongdoer in the future; and
- Out of pocket expenses such as travel to and from the doctor, hotel expenses, property damages, and any other damages that were incurred due to your injury.
A spouse of an injured person may also have a claim for "loss of consortium," which includes the loss or damages to the relationship. Loss of consortium examples including loss of housecleaning or lawn care by the injured spouse and loss of the sexual relationship. Injuries can traumatically alter the marriage dynamics that can cause significant stress on the relationship.
Who Pays for the Damages?
In most cases, the damages caused by the event are paid for by the defendant's insurance company. The damages you recovery may be limited to the amount of the insurance coverage the defendant carries.
If the defendant was working at the time of the event, the defendant's employer's insurance may be responsible. Commercial insurance coverage is usually more than an individual defendant's policy coverage.
If the event occurred at the defendant's house, such as an assault or on the defendant's property, the defendant's homeowner's insurance policy will likely apply.
BEWARE: If the defendant does not have insurance coverage, you likely will not get any money for your damages. No attorney will take your case on a contingent fee basis since there is not a means of recovery. You can still sue the defendant yourself and get a judgment against them, but collecting any money will be difficult.
What Evidence Do I Need to Prove My Personal Injury Damages?
You will need credible liability, causation, and medical damages evidence for your civil lawsuit.
- Liability evidence is what is needed to show the defendant was negligent. This can be a police report, or witness statement. Liability evidence can also come from the defendant's records.
- Causation damages links the negligent conduct to your injury. For example, a medical record that says, "the driver was rear-ended, which caused his head to hit the dashboard resulting in a concussion."
- Medical damages include the medical records and expenses for treatment related to your injuries such as hospital and doctor bills.
Your legal team will gather, analyze, and present the above evidence during the pre-litigation and discovery phases of your lawsuit. Your evidence must be credible, or trustworthy, and admissible.
If you are injured, it is important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. The attorney will guide you and direct you to preserve critical evidence and information necessary to prove your claim, and to get you the right medical care. Your attorney should also send a request to the defendant so they are on notice of your potential claim and are then under a duty to preserve evidence.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is where the family members of the deceased pursue a case against the wrongdoer for causing injury and death. Every state has a wrongful death statute which provides who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Texas for example, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the spouse, natural or adopted children, and the parents. Siblings are not included.
The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Loss of companionship and society;
- Mental anguish and emotional distress, past and future; and
- Punitive damages.
A survival action is a personal injury case for the deceased person. The representative of the deceased (i.e, the estate executor), has its own claim for the injuries and pain suffered by the decedent.
The damages available in a survival action include:
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages in the past due to the injury, and loss of earning capacity in the future;
- Mental anguish and emotional distress suffered before death;
- Physical pain and suffering before death; and
- Punitive damages.
Each state may have variations of the above.