When you are injured in an accident, the pain and stress of dealing with your injury can be overwhelming. But you do not have to go it alone. A personal injury claim can help you receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
What is a personal injury claim?
A personal injury claim is made against a person or insurance company alleging that your injury was caused by the negligence of another. Most personal injury claims are the result of car accidents, work related accidents, trips and falls, and product malfunction accidents.
What do I need to do?
If you would like to file a personal injury claim, it is highly recommended that you first engage the services of an attorney. An attorney will be well-versed in state law and will research all the pertinent facts of your case. When you are injured it can be difficult to keep track of the legal process, and having an attorney will ease your mind. Note: In Rhode Island you have 3 years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim. If you do not file within this time you will lose your right to do so at any time in the future.
How is my personal injury claim decided?
Your attorney must prove that the party that injured you was at fault and had a duty to protect you from the injury. This means the attorney must use evidence to show that the defendant was obligated to maintain a certain level of conduct towards you (duty), that they failed to maintain that level (negligence), that your injuries were a direct result of that breach of duty (proximate care), and that you suffered real and demonstratable injury (damages). Rhode Island has a comparative negligence law, which means that the defendant can claim that you were also being negligent, and that your negligence caused or contributed to your injuries. If it is determined that you share some responsibility for your injuries, your damages award may be reduced accordingly.
What can I hope to gain?
If a court or arbitrator finds in your favor, there are many factors which affect how much compensation you receive. First the court or arbitrator will consider any measureable costs you incurred as a result of your injury, such as medical bills and lost wages. They will also take into account less concrete aspects of the injury, like emotional pain and suffering. Another factor is the lifetime detrimental effects of the injuries. For example, if you are an avid tennis player and your injury will prevent you from ever playing again, your attorney will seek compensation for this loss.
While no one hopes to be injured, if you do suffer an accident the most important thing is to seek help. A personal injury attorney will fight for your best interests to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.