What are the kinds of personal injury cases, and when should you hire a car accident attorney or personal injury lawyer? what is the difference between a car accident attorney and a personal injury attorney? Are these 2 the same?
How much will a personal injury lawyer charge you for his services? How much is the average settlement for personal injury claims? What are the examples of personal injuries and their average settlements?
Well, common kinds of personal injuries include:
- Car or automobile accidents
- Medical malpractice or negligence of medical workers
- Wrongful deaths
- Product liability
- Workplace injuries
- Premises liability and many others.
Though the basics of personal injuries are the same, and knowledge learned is transferable across all circles, this site largely concentrates on car accidents and the resulting personal injuries.
If you are looking for personal injuries not related to car accidents, I recommend you come back in the future once we have expanded our focus to a whole range of personal injuries. You can still gain useful insights from this article like how courts handle such cases and why hire lawyers to help you receive the highest claim settlement.
This article is a bit lengthy and though I recommend you read it all, there are some sections you may not need. If what I said is true, please go through the contents of this article and look at only sections you may be interested in. Here you go!
What are the most common types of personal injuries?
The term personal injury refers to injuries inflicted on a person’s body, emotions, and reputation. Property damages do not apply to personal injuries though some lawyers handle them concurrently if a need arises.
Here are the most common types of personal injuries.
1. Birth injuries. Certain things could occur during labor that negatively affects your baby due to the negligence of medical workers. For instance, prolonged labor or delayed birth, poor delivery techniques, and physical injuries could be attributed to the negligence of the attending health workers.
Actually, many birth injuries are preventable by good medical practices. According to this site 7 out of 1000 birth are born with birth injuries yearly in the united states many of which are due to the negligence of health workers.
Depending on how severely your baby was injured, the average settlement amount for birth injuries is somewhere between $1-2 million. Each case will be evaluated differently and also the degree of medical negligence plays a bigger part.
2. Spinal cord injuries. This consist of a bundle of nerves that runs from the base of your skull and stretches to your buttocks. On each level, the nerve branches off and delivers electrical signals/impulses to different parts of the body.
You normally feel a painful stimulus, you can tell if the food is salty or not, and you can easily lift or move your foot just because the nerve pathways to the foot are intact. Paralysis usually results if the nerve damage to the paralyzed part of the body is completely damaged. All 5 senses of your body depend on your intact nervous system.
Every part of your body is controlled by a specific nerve pathway. Injury to the nerve means you will not control or feel the part of the body whose nerve supply is damaged. For instance, you may not wiggle, or feel a painful stimulus on your toes if the nervous system that serves it is damaged.
Several attorneys, I consulted were able to agree that the average settlement amount for personal injuries involving the spinal cord is close to $1 million. I recommend you speak to an attorney if you have been unlawfully injured, especially if you sustained spinal cord injuries.
3. Head and brain injuries. Common head injuries include intra-brain bleeding, concussions, contusions, fracture of the skull, and many others. Head injuries are very difficult to treat and usually cost thousands of dollars especially if surgery is required as part of your treatment.
Head or brain injuries can be recognized by the presence of headache, dizziness, nausea, loss or diminished cognitive functioning and so many others. Head injury is an example of personal injury that is very common in car or any automobile accident.
The average settlement for a head injury like a concussion is somewhere between $20,000 and $80,000. The minimum settlement for brain injuries is usually $100,000.
4. Workplace Accidents. These are also called occupational accidents. They are occurrences in the course of your work that result in physical or mental harm. The 5 most common workplace injuries include:
- Being struck or injured by moving machinery.
- Trips, slips, and falls.
- Fire and other explosions
- Automobile accidents
- Burns and others.
Though many workplace injuries settle for millions of dollars, my independent study showed that the average settlement for most workplace injuries is in the range of $2,000 and $40,000.
5. Emotional injuries. According to this site, emotional injury refers to the damage to your psyche after living through extremely distressing or frightening experiences. Such damages will make you unable to cope later in your life.
People who suffer from emotional injuries usually present with the following symptoms:
- Too much or eating too little.
- Low energy levels.
- Withdraw from friends. They want to be alone
- Unexplained or vague pains and aches
- Swinging moods
- Loss of interest in their previous favorite things
- Suicidal behaviors and many others.
What you should know is that emotional injuries qualify as both special and general damages. This implies that emotional distress will be accounted for by the jury while awarding damages for pain and suffering.
The average settlement for pain and suffering is usually $15,000. This will depend on how much your medical bills are worth. Jurors usually award pain and suffering damages that are 2-5 times your medical bills. If you are living in the UK, you will most likely receive over £1,500 and up to around £5,000 as damages for your emotional injuries.
6. Bone and muscle injuries. These are physical injuries that affect your bones and soft tissues. Examples include whiplash and bone fractures. Though I have seen plaintiffs scoop around $1-2 million for life-threatening soft tissue injuries, the average settlement for a whiplash injury is somewhere between $10,000 to $100,000.
If you sustained a fractured bone, your average settlement will most likely be close to $85,000. If you suffered multiple fractured bones, expect an amount close to the number of broken bones multiplied by $85,000. For instance, if the plaintiff suffered 4 fractured bones, his/her settlement amount will be around $340,000 or more.
What are personal injury cases?
Personal injury cases are cases that come about when a person suffers injuries caused by the negligence of another person. For instance, if a driver overruns a stop sign and crashes into your vehicle causing you injuries, that driver unlawfully injured you and therefore should compensate you.
If you are injured by new machinery newly installed at your workplace with no adequate training or instructions, your employers should be held liable for the injuries you sustained. Most personal injury cases are settled without going to trial or expensive ligations. According to my study findings, almost more than 97% of personal injury cases in the USA are settled out of court.
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Examples of personal injury claims
There are many examples of personal injury cases where attorneys successfully settled cases either by trial or out of court. Here are examples of such personal injury cases.
1. Amputation after a car accident. A passenger in one car that crashed into another car sustained severe leg injuries which resulted in multiple surgeries. Eventually, the leg was amputated just below the knee. The jurors awarded the plaintiff $2.68 Million as compensation to help him cope with his new life as a disabled person and cover his living expenses.
2. Car accident compensation payout of $575,331. A plaintiff was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle traveling in the wrong lane. The plaintiff suffered brain damage and other fractures. At first, the insurance company offered little settlement not until the attorney filed a lawsuit. Out of panic, the insurance company quickly settled the claim out of court by awarding $575,331.
3. Facial lacerations compensation due to a car accident. Plaintiff sustained facial injuries, but the defendant’s insurance company denied that the injuries were caused by the accident. After the cause of the injuries was proved, the claim was settled out of court for a fee of $223,541.
4. Motorcyclist hit by a car claim case.
A man and wife were hit by a turning car injuring both. The man sustained injuries and could not return to work for a complete year. His wife sustained a fracture that required surgery to fix the broken bones. The biker received compensation of $72,614, and his wife received damages of $100,543.
Famous personal injury cases.
There have been many high-profile personal injury cases that involved high-profile people like media celebrities, comedians, political figures, and others. Some of these cases involved huge claim settlements.
For example, there is the case Harris v. McGraw. In 2009, McGraw invited his workmate on a TV show, Jane Harris, for a visit. while at McGraw’s home, Harris was bitten by the family’s pet dog. Harris was given McGraw’s home insurance contacts but did not file a claim as she was offered a paid vacation.
After a few months, the wounds got infected and Harris filed for close to a $7millions settlement after she lost hearing and developed tremors. The case was settled out of court for a huge but undisclosed settlement amount.
Other huge and famous personal injury settlements include the following:
- Anderson v. Pacific Gas and Electric which settled for $333 million
- Liebeck v. Mcdonald’s Corporation was awarded $2.7M punitive damages.
- Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Company where the Jury awarded $127.8M damages to the victims and their families.
- Bret Michaels v. CBS who settled for a huge fee after suing CBS for not instructing him on how to leave the stage after a performance.
Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident?
Well, the best answer to this question is that it depends. The rule of thumb is that, if the plaintiff or victim suffered serious bodily injuries or property damages, then it is worth hiring an attorney for the car accident.
You may not know how to fully exhaust all the damages you are entitled to. Only attorneys do. If you are seriously injured, here are some of the damages you deserve compensation for:
- Special damages like medical bills, property damages, lost income, future income, wages, etc.
- General damages like pain and suffering, lost consortium, emotional damages, reduced quality of life, disfigurement, physical impairment, and others.
- Punitive damages for instance if the defendant overrun a stop sign.
Believe it or not, you may not be able to successfully negotiate for the above array of damages you are entitled to because you do not know how to prove them to the jury or claims adjuster. Remember you won’t get what you did not ask for. So hiring a personal injury lawyer helps a lot.
According to some data available, claims where a car accident attorney is involved usually fetch settlements that are 3-5 times higher compared to when no attorney is involved.
On the other hand, you do not need a car accident attorney if your settlement is likely to be less than $10,000. In other words, you do not need a personal injury lawyer if you suffered minor injuries and you expect a little amount of settlement.
Personal injury claim court proceedings
To be sincere, court proceedings for personal injury cases are not necessary unless the insurance company or defendants show no signs of willingness to settle. Settling personal injuries out of court is the best decision because jurors are unpredictable, takes a long time to settle and the process is very costly.
Some jurors favor defendants whereas others favor plaintiffs. Your settlement in the courts could even depend on how the jurors like your character or your dress code, so it’s very unpredictable. Many cases settle out of court.
How personal injury cases work?
Following a car accident in which someone unlawfully injured you, what follows is filing for a claim for your compensation due to the damages incurred. if the defendant carries insurance coverage, you will claim through the defendant’s insurance claim, or else you will need to go after the defendant by filing a lawsuit.
The insurance company usually denies or accepts your claim. They will assign you a claims adjuster who will asses all your losses and come up with a settlement offer. You may or may not accept what your claims adjuster offers in the settlement.
Should you not agree on the settlement amount, you will need to re-negotiate or hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit. The lawyer will try to negotiate or file lawsuits immediately. You will need to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident in which you were injured or else you may not receive any payout.
Hiring a car accident attorney later after you tried to negotiate on your own complicates things. Most likely you already revealed incriminating information so a lawyer may find it difficult to overturn the case.
Personal injury claims court
Your personal injury case will most likely be filed in a civil court as opposed to criminal court unless it’s a wrongful death case. Though most car accident cases begin in courts of law, usually only 2-3% of these cases go to trial.
In the personal injury court, the plaintiff will need to prove with reasonable clarity that the injuries he/she suffered were caused by an accident in which the defendant exhibited a high degree of negligence. You have a right to accept or decline to have the case decided by jurors. If both parties demand jury trials, they may be asked to pay for the services.
Car accident attorney in Los Angeles
The total number of cars in urbanized Los Angeles in 2012 were more than 6,433,000. In the year 2022, there were more than 40,667 car crashes in the county of Los Angeles.
If you had a car accident and you are looking for some of the best car accident attorneys in Los Angeles, here is a list of a few of them.
- Rose, Klein, and Marias injury lawyers. Contact them at (866) 674 5150.
- Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates. Contact them at (213) 523 3428
- Law Offices of Haleh Shekarchian. Tel: (888) 449 9609
- Weinberg Law Offices P.C. Tel number : (818) 514 1330
Defense car accident attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident and unfortunately you are deemed the at-fault driver, you will be sued to compensate the driver who sustained injuries and losses due to your negligence.
If you live in states that subscribe to comparative or contributory negligence, you may need to hire a lawyer to defend you or prove that the other driver shares responsibility for the accident.
If the other driver sues you for the damages, you will be referred to as a defendant and if you hired a lawyer to defend or negotiate on your behalf, a such lawyer will be referred to as a defense car accident attorney.
On the other hand, the driver whom you injured is called a plaintiff or a claimant, and his/her lawyer will be referred to as a plaintiff attorney, a personal injury attorney.
How much does a car accident attorney charge?
Most personal injury lawyers charge $0 unless they win you a settlement. In simple terms, these car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee-based system. You pay no lawyer fees, not after you won the case and you are awarded a payout.
Your car accident attorney will charge you 30-40% of your final verdict settlement. Though you pay no legal fees, there are some costs you will pay so do not be deceived that you will have to pay no money from your pocket initially.
Apart from the fees, you are expected to pay the following legal costs:
- Filing and court fees
- Stationary and photocopying services
- postage and telephone services
- Computer research
- Court reporter costs
- Expert witnesses and so many others.
Depending on what you will agree with your attorney, you will either pay those costs upfront or be deducted from your settlement. Note that, costs are paid even if you lost the case.
In summary, the common kinds of personal injuries include car accident injuries, workplace injuries, medical malpractice, wrongful deaths, and others. The commonest cause of personal injuries is car accidents. If you are a car accident victim, hiring a car insurance attorney maximizes your settlement.