An Introduction To Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you think that you have a good shot at a personal injury lawsuit, then you might be inclined to go right ahead and file immediately. However, there are some things that you should know before proceeding.

What is the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits?

You have a set period of time to file your lawsuit, which depends on the state that you are in. This is called the statute of limitations, and usually starts counting as soon as the injury occurs. In some situations, the period may be extended, such as when the injury is not immediately discovered. For instance, if you were involved in a chemical spill and exposed to a substance that didn't show any adverse effects for a decade or two, then you would need to file relative to the discovery of those injuries rather than relative to the original accident.

This gives you a good idea of exactly how long you have to plan out your lawsuit and whether or not you need to hurry. You want to get all the facts that support you and gather all of the necessary documentation before you file.

How can a lawyer help you?

While it is possible to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit on your own, you could greatly benefit from the legal expertise of a personal injury lawyer. Even if you don't plan on hiring a lawyer, you can get a consultation that will help you establish a roadmap of what's to come. A personal injury lawyer can give you a good idea of what evidence you need to bring, what your chances of winning look like, and just how much you can expect to win.

How will your lawsuit play out?

You might think that your only two options are winning or losing your lawsuit. However, there is an extremely likely third option: settlement. When the accused party elects to settle, the court case is effectively dropped and you are paid a flat amount of money. This amount will likely be less than the amount that you pursued in your lawsuit, but it is guaranteed money. While you could continue the lawsuit, there is a possibility that you could lose, and even if you do win, the judge could decide to lower the amount that you are awarded. Taking a settlement could even be more advantageous to you, since it results in a shorter trial and thus lower legal fees. Depending on the amount of money that you are pursuing, the difference between your goal and the settlement could be smaller than the amount you would pay in legal fees for a longer trial.