What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

personal injury claim

When you’re injured by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, it’s likely you are facing medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. After an accident, you might be wondering if you have any legal recourse to obtain compensation, or damages, for your losses. This is when filing a personal injury claim comes in.

In this blog, the personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe explain personal injury claims, types of injury claims, when you can file one, and review possible damages you may be entitled to. 

Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim is a legal way to seek compensation for damages caused by another person’s carelessness or recklessness. These damages can be financial, physical, or emotional. These claims are part of the civil justice system, separate from the criminal justice system that deals with punishment for crimes. The compensation is meant to recover losses for the injured party. 

It’s important to understand that personal injury claims focus on compensating for bodily harm, not property damage. This means repairs or replacements for a car or its contents wouldn’t be covered under a personal injury claim unless there is an injury involved.

On the other hand, personal injury claims can include compensation for wrongful death, which refers to situations where someone’s negligence leads to the death of another person.

Common types of personal injury claims include: 

How Do I Know If I Can File a Personal Injury Claim?

Whether you can file a personal injury claim depends on the specifics of your situation. Most personal injury claims are based on the concept of negligence. This means that the injured person (plaintiff) must prove that the other party (defendant) owed them a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused the plaintiff’s injuries as a result. 

Here are some general guidelines to help you determine if you might have a case:

  • Presentable injury: You must have a genuine injury that required medical attention.
  • Another party’s fault: The injury must be due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another person or party. Accidents don’t always qualify; there has to be an element of fault on someone else’s part.
  • Damages incurred: You must have suffered damages as a result of the injury. This could include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage.

If your case meets the criteria above, a personal injury attorney can review the details of your accident and determine if you have a valid claim. Along with the factors mentioned above, there are a few other factors to consider when deciding to start the personal injury claim process: 

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The cost of your medical bills
  • The amount of lost wages
  • The strength of your case (evidence of negligence) 

Possible Damages Available 

Damages are one of the key components of a personal injury claim. Depending on the losses incurred due to your injury and accident, there are certain types of damages you might be eligible for. In a personal injury claim, damages awarded can be broken down into three main categories: compensatory, special, and punitive

Compensatory Damages

Aim to make the injured person (plaintiff) financially whole again for losses caused by the defendant’s negligence. Compensatory damages encompass both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic Losses

Also called special damages, these are quantifiable expenses with receipts or bills as proof, including: 

  • Medical bills (past, present, and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Property damage

Non-Economic Losses 

These are more subjective, intangible losses that are harder to put a dollar amount on, and may include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium (inability to maintain a normal marital relationship)

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are less common, but they are still a possibility. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for their conduct and deter similar behavior. Note that punitive damages are awarded only in rare cases where the defendant’s actions were intentional, malicious, or exhibited a reckless disregard for safety.

What Happens After I File a Claim With an Attorney? 

If you’ve decided to file a lawsuit with a personal injury attorney, you might be wondering what happens next. Here’s what your lawyer will do for you once you start the process: 

  • Evaluate your case: They’ll assess the details of your accident, determine if you have a valid claim, and review your legal options.
  • Gather evidence: Your attorney will work to build a strong case by collecting evidence like police reports, medical records, witness statements, etc. that shows how your injuries occurred and how the accident happened.
  • Deal with insurance companies: Personal injury attorneys know how to navigate the tricks insurance companies use to devalue or lowball your claim. Your lawyer will handle all communication with them, ensuring you don’t accidentally say anything that weakens your claim.
  • Negotiate a settlement: In most cases, the goal is to reach a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. Your attorney will negotiate aggressively to get you the compensation you deserve.
  • Go to trial: If a fair settlement can’t be reached, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to court and fight for your rights in front of a judge or jury.

Ready to Start Your Claim? Contact Lerner and Rowe 

Being injured due to someone else’s negligence can be a physically, emotionally, and financially overwhelming experience. With the help of a personal injury attorney from Lerner and Rowe, you can be sure to have an experienced and compassionate attorney who is ready to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. 

We have a proven track record of winning billion-dollar results for injury victims across the nation. Our team is committed to winning your case and handling your legal battle so you can focus on recovery.  

To start your free case consultation, get in touch with us today. You can reach us at 844-977-1900. We are also available via LiveChat or by case review form.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.