You don’t ever want to be in a situation where you must pursue a personal injury lawsuit. The reason you have to do it sometimes is if an individual or a business entity injured you. You’d like to be able to get back to your life as best you can, but before you do, it makes sense that you make them pay for what they did to you.
When you pursue one of these lawsuits, you’re not seeking vengeance but justice. Without justice, society would fail to function. Our laws are in place to hold wrongdoers accountable.
We’ll go over five personal injury lawsuit facts that should give you some idea of what to expect if you decide you must undertake this action.
1. A Personal Injury Lawsuit is a Civil Action, Not a Criminal One
Before you hire a personal injury lawyer and go after the individual or entity that injured you, you should understand that this lawsuit is a civil action rather than a criminal one. The difference is that the legal system is not going after the responsible entity or individual because they believe they broke the law. The term “civil action” implies that you, a civilian, are attempting to seek recompense for some action that caused you harm.
This does not necessarily mean, though, that a personal injury lawsuit will preclude the legal system from going after the individual or entity that you’re suing. If, during the trial’s course, you and your lawyer can prove that the responsible party broke the law in addition to harming you, the defendant might face a later criminal trial as well.
2. You Can Attempt to Sue for Any Monetary Amount You Want
Your lawyer will also probably explain to you that you can sue the defendant who you feel hurt you for as much money as you want. You can go after them for a billion dollars if you like.
The thing is, asking for an extremely large, arbitrary amount is probably going to hinder your case rather than help it. You’re trying to get an amount that seems like the appropriate compensation for your injuries.
If you ask for way more than your injuries seem worth to any reasonable person, the jury is not going to give you anywhere close to that, even if you prove conclusively that the defendant hurt you.
3. You Can Sue for Economic Damages
If you and your lawyer can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant harmed you, you can get back economic damages from them following the verdict. If the jury does find in your favor, you might get money back for medical bills, such as hospital stays, physical therapy sessions, prescription medication, and so forth.
You might get back money for personal property damage or household expenses. If you can tally up the money you spent directly related to injuries or illness the person or business entity caused, and you have physical evidence of all that, the jury will probably force the defendant to pay you back every penny.
4. You Can Sue for Non-Economic Damages
Yu can also sue for what the legal system calls non-economic damages.
Pain and suffering might mean what you’ve gone through because of the defendant’s actions. For example, maybe they physically scarred you, or their actions cost you a limb. Maybe because of what they put you through, you can’t enjoy your life as much as you once could.
It’s harder to put dollar amounts on pain and suffering because it’s not the same as a medical bill where the cost is right there for all to see. Your lawyer can cite precedent and use previous cases to indicate how much the jury might give you. Still, it’s up to that jury, and you may get more or less than you expected based on their whim.
5. You Can Settle Out of Court
You might also settle with the defendant out of court, thereby saving both you and them the trouble of going through a long, arduous trial. That often happens if their attorney looks at what evidence you plan to present at trial during the discovery phase, and they realize their client has almost no chance at winning.
If this happens, you’ll need to ask your lawyer whether accepting the defendant’s offer makes sense. If they’re trying to lowball you, you might need to decline and continue with the trial.