What Could Happen in My Injury Case? Are They All the Same?

The only thing that is the same in personal injury cases is that someone was injured or killed. Every case is different, whether it is how the accident happened, the outcome, or even the injuries. Personal injury laws arose from old common-law rules – rules made by judges, not governments. Common law differs from state to state.

There is a variety of different situations where personal injury rules are applicable. They include accidents, intentional acts, defective products, and defamation.

  • Accidents – Can involve someone or an entity acting in a negligent manner that harms another. e.g., Collisions, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and truck accidents.
  • Intentional Acts – Situations that involve a defendant’s deliberate actions harming another. e.g., Fraud, assault, and battery.
  • Defective Products – Products can include truck parts, tires on a car, a defective medical device, or a drug with harmful side effects. Product liability lawsuits can be filed against the defective product maker.
  • Defamation (Libel and Slander)– Happens when the other party, the defendant, makes a false statement about the injured person, the plaintiff.

As mentioned, no two accidents or situations are precisely the same, but for the fact that there is a personal injury involved. This means each personal injury case follows its own unique path based on the circumstances and injuries of each case. That said, there are typical steps that are taken before preparing a case for mediation, arbitration, or trial.

Personal injury cases have the following in common:

  • A defendant does something that injures a plaintiff. This does not apply to contract law;
  • A plaintiff hires legal representation;
  • The plaintiff alleges a defendant breached a legal duty. What the responsibility may be is determined by how the accident happened. e.g., Driving recklessly and causing a crash;
  • A complaint is served and filed on the defendant(s);
  • The defendant hires a lawyer;
  • The case moves to pre-trial and discovery to gather information;
  • Settlement talks, mediation, and settlement conferences may happen. In most personal injury cases, the parties would likely prefer to settle out of court to save the cost of a full-blown trial. While that may be the goal, anything can throw talks off track. This is where the other alternatives come – mediation and a settlement conference held by a judge; and
  • Both parties proceed to court if mediation talks and a settlement conference fail. The outcome depends on the facts of the case.

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