Although any situation can ultimately lead to a personal injury lawsuit, the requirements for filing such a civil case are similar. Each case must show that the defendant had a duty of care and acted negligently in failing to fulfil that duty, which in turn resulted in harm that can be measured as financial losses or burdens. Similarly, there are underlying factors that can determine how much a plaintiff can expect to receive and if the plaintiff can file a civil suit at all.
How Can Comparative Negligence Affect Your Case?
In some cases and depending upon the laws in your state, your own actions can determine your ability to file a lawsuit and how much you’re likely to receive in damages. If you were found to be partially at fault for the accident, you’re guilty of comparative negligence and this can deeply impact your civil suit. Comparative negligence can limit the amount of damages you’re entitled to receive and, in some cases, you may not be able to file a civil suit at all. For this reason, it’s very important to be honest and candid with your personal injury lawyer, so he can give you a good assessment of your situation, instead of wasting time and money on a fruitless case.
Failing To Mitigate Damages
Just because you may be the victim in an accident, that doesn’t mean you’re free from responsibilities. Following any accident, it’s up to each party to seek medical treatment for injuries in an effort to limit the extent of those injuries. By not seeking treatment, you could be acting to cause those injuries to worsen, raising the cost and duration of treatment. In such circumstances, damages may be reduced by the civil court in response to the plaintiff’s failure to seek treatment.
A Jury May Award Punitive Damages
Though some factors can negatively impact a plaintiff’s case, this isn’t always true. If your personal injury lawyer successfully convinces the jury that the defendant acted egregiously or was especially careless in breaching his duty of care, the jury may award punitive damages. These are damages awarded on top of compensatory damages (medical bills, loss of work, pain and suffering, etc.) and can be of whatever amount the jury deems justified. Typically, punitive damages are significant, because the goal here is to ensure the defendant suffers the punishment of the award. While compensatory damages are intended to help the victim recover, punitive damages are essentially applied to teach the defendant a lesson.
Did You Suffer A Hard Injury Or A Soft Injury?
The type of injuries you suffer can also have a direct bearing on how much you’ll be awarded in a personal injury case. Hard injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and nerve damage will be worth a greater damages award than soft injuries (sprains, strains, and bruises). While this is partly because hard injuries are more costly to treat, it also has to do with the required healing time. Injuries that take longer to heal and those that may require long-term care are eligible for greater compensation.
Patience Is A Virtue In Personal Injury Lawsuits
Finally, your own haste in receiving a settlement will determine how much you can receive in damages. If you rush the process, insurance adjusters are likely to see this and take advantage of your haste by offering a very low settlement. On the other hand, if you trust your attorney and allow the process to take its course, he may be able to either negotiate a better settlement on your behalf or pursue a civil case that will get you more than the initial settlement offer. It’s up to you to determine what’s more important: the settlement amount or the time it takes to receive compensation.