An accident can be very traumatic, not only because of the event itself but for the confusion and chaos that follows the accident. Injuries to yourself or a loved one often cause the need to make important decisions, such as how to best protect your legal rights. Should you decide to build a case around your accident, it is important to understand the basics of how personal injuries play in the legal arena.
Definition of “Personal Injury.”
In simple terms, a personal injury case occurs when a person is harmed as the result of an injury or accident that has directly or indirectly been caused by another party. To formally file a personal injury case you can file in a civil court where a judge makes a decision on it, or it can be settled outside of court before the case lawsuit is formally filed.
What is a lawsuit?
A personal injury case is initiated by an individual, also called the plaintiff. This is different from criminal cases which are initiated by government officials. The plaintiff files a complaint against another party which can be an individual, a corporation, business or even a government agency. This other party is called the defendant. Typically the accusation will indicate that the accused somehow acted incorrectly and that action caused an injury or accident. Presenting this action is called “filing a lawsuit,” says a reputable personal injury lawyer in Vancouver.
What is a settlement?
Many cases result in settlements out of court. Regularly, these discussions will occur between attorneys, the plaintiff, the defendant and any insurance companies pertinent to the conversation. Both sides are represented, and an agreement is reached before the case is filed in court as a lawsuit. Normally there is a negotiation period followed by a written agreement reflecting what was discussed. In the agreement, there is typically a commitment that neither party will pursue further legal action once any monetary exchange is finalized.There are also alternative dispute resolution options for those who are unable to reach a settlement but don’t quite want to take the case to court. Arbitration and mediation are examples of such techniques.
Understanding Statute of Limitations
For plaintiffs, it is important to know what is a statute of limitations. In simple terms, upon being injured, there is a period where legal action can be taken. Once the established period has passed, the plaintiff is no longer able to pursue any legal action for the event.Each state will set their statute of limitation depending on the crime. For example, in California, a person has two years to file a lawsuit, or five if it is a sex crime. For more information, you can consult the states’ statute of limitations clause.
Where to research the law behind personal injury litigation
The foundation of personal injury law has been developed over the years through the actions of the different courts throughout the nation and by the opinions and treatises authored by leaders in the legal field. Although many states try to keep a comprehensive directory of personal injury law, it is always best to research court decisions to address personal injury cases.