Automobile accidents, which account for the majority of personal injury claims, are a good example of how the tort system works. If you are hurt by a driver who fails to exercise reasonable care in a “fault” state, you have a negligence claim, because drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care wherever they are on the road. When they fail to fulfill that responsibility and you suffer an accident, personal injury law states that you are entitled to compensation. (However, in states that have approved no-fault laws, the system may be considerably different.)
Negligence extends far beyond vehicle accident lawsuits. In most personal injury litigation, including medical malpractice cases, it serves as the foundation for responsibility.
Yes. Strict responsibility is a vital and rapidly expanding topic of tort law. It makes designers and manufacturers fully responsible for damage caused by defective products. In certain circumstances, the injured party does not need to show that the manufacturer was negligent. Rather, you must establish that the product was designed or manufactured in such a way that it poses an unreasonable risk when used as intended. In the worst case scenario, you might actually need the services of wrongful death lawyers.
In this lawsuit, you are the plaintiff, and the individual who hurt you is the respondent. Attorneys for both sides (as well as the insurer) usually start gathering information by exchanging papers, asking questions (interrogatories), or taking depositions. This is referred to as the discovery process. Many cases are settled before going to trial after discovery.
If you win, a judge or jury will award you money for your injuries, which is referred to as damages. Compensation for medical expenditures and lost pay, as well as compensation for potential wage losses, can be included in this sum. It can also help you get compensated for bodily pain and suffering. In addition, you may be entitled to compensation for any bodily disfigurement or handicap caused by your accident.
When you settle a matter, you agree to accept money in exchange for withdrawing your lawsuit against the individual who hurt you. You’ll actually sign a release that relieves the other party of any further responsibility. Your lawyer will be able to provide you with a realistic appraisal of whether a lawsuit based on your claim will be successful to assist you to decide whether to accept the settlement offer. (A settlement can happen at any stage after a lawsuit is filed, including before trial or after a case has been tried but before a jury has reached a decision.) It is your decision, not the lawyer’s, to accept a settlement offer.
Every state has “statutes of limitations” that control how long you have to file a personal injury case. In some areas, you may only have one year to initiate a lawsuit after an automobile accident. If you miss the statutory deadline for filing a case, it will be dismissed.