Personal Injury Lawsuits

It is important to understand personal injury law and the lawsuits which may follow. Every day someone is harmed through negligence or failure to use reasonable care by an individual or a corporation. Personal injury law is normally part of civil law rather than criminal law, but not always. In some cases, the act or environment which led to the harm of an individual can be deemed as a criminal act and prosecuted in separate criminal proceedings.

What Constitutes Personal Injury?

In many cases, the harm done is physical – such as slip and fall injuries where a store owner or property owner was negligent in the upkeep of property. However, psychological harm can also be the basis for a personal injury law. Bullying or threats might produce the type of emotional harm that could be the basis for a lawsuit.

Other common examples of civil lawsuits involve car accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, accidents at work, medical malpractice, dog bites and injuries that occur in daycare centers and elder care facilities.

The Dynamics of Personal Injury Law

There are two key factors in personal injury lawsuits, sometimes called PI lawsuits. First, you must demonstrate that negligence or a lack of reasonable care produced liability. For example, if you stumble down your neighbors’ front steps in the winter, but the steps meet all local codes, are in good repair and have been shoveled and salted, then the event is a simple accident.

However, if the steps are cracked and broken or the neighbor has been negligent in removing snow and ice from them, then a personal injury lawsuit is a strong possibility.

The second factor is the seeking of financial compensation in the form of damages. In the above example, if the neighbors failed to exercise reasonable care in the upkeep of their property, they could be sued for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, long-term loss of mobility and other damages consistent with the how you are affected.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Personal injury lawyers are those lawyers who specialize and focus their law practice on injuries caused by a product, company or an individual against their client. If it is a large team of personal injury attorneys, then within the team might be a medical specialist, an automobile/motorcycle accident specialist and so forth. Personal injury attorneys understand the system and know how to pursue the best outcome for their clients.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Settlement and Judgment

Most personal injury lawsuits settle before they go to court. In most cases, for a pretrial settlement to take place, two things are usually present. First, negligence must be clear and second; the settlement offer must be fair.  The personal injury attorneys negotiate the settlement with attorneys for the individual, the corporation or their insurance company. In most cases, the party at fault will not claim any responsibility and state in the settlement that they acknowledge no guilt or fault and the injured party can not divulge or talk about the settlement.

If the defendant denies negligence or a settlement amount, the case will proceed to trial. The case will go in front of a judge and possibly a jury. The court will find for one side or the other. If the party bringing the suit wins, then a settlement amount will also be determined by the court.

Fees and Payments in PI Lawsuits

Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means they take the case with no upfront fees and only get paid if they win. A typical arrangement is that the personal injury attorneys are entitled to 1/3 of the settlement plus the cost of their legal fees. In some cases, this can amount to half or more of the total settlement. You may also have to pay taxes on any funds you receive, make sure you talk to your accountant understand what taxes you may owe.

The settlement is paid by the individual, the corporation or by their insurance companies. For example, most homeowner’s insurance policies offer liability coverage. Automobile insurance includes liability. Corporations, clubs, religious institutions, private schools, attorneys, doctors, salon and spa owners are just a few of the other entities that are covered by liability insurance. If they lose a personal injury lawsuit due to negligence, the insurance company will usually pay the damages.

Precautions and Tips about Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you’re considering a personal injury lawsuit, you’ll need to have a good case. Most personal injury attorneys won’t take a case they don’t think they can win, since it will cost them time and money, and a loss might harm their reputation.

Consider discussing your case with several PI lawyers before you choose one to represent you. Look for one with proven success in the type of case you have, e.g., slip and fall, dog bite, auto/motorcycle accident, medical malpractice, etc.


Remember, personal injury law is there to protect you. If you have a physical injury because of what someone else did or did not do, then talk to a lawyer. Choose an attorney who believes in your case and is willing to take it to court if need be, rather than settling. You will want an attorney who is aggressive enough to seek the largest possible damages for their clients. If your case is really serious, you want to consider the likelihood of an appeal process. If you lose a court battle but feel you really should have won, you will want to appeal. Talking to an appellate attorney up front may be a good idea. It’s important to prepare for all possible outcomes.