Misconceptions and general assumptions concerning personal injury law are extremely common. However, personal injury law is complex and varied, and it's extremely difficult to predict the outcome of a single case. Following are three things that you should know about personal injury law if you are considering filing a lawsuit as a result of injuries sustained during a motor vehicle accident.
Personal Injury Law Varies by State
Many people erroneously believe that person injury law is the same in all 50 states, but the fact of the matter is is that it varies widely per state. Some states, for instance, have "no fault" insurance laws, which prohibit you from filing a lawsuit against any of the other parties involved in the accident. instead, your own insurance company picks up the tab for your medical bills that aren't covered by your health insurance and any other expenses that you incur as a direct result of the accident. The following twelve states and Puerto Rico have "no fault" statutes in place:
- North Dakota
Keep in mind that differences exist between each of the individual "no fault" states. Also, statutes governing insurance have the potential to change with every session of the applicable state's legislature. This is one of the most important reasons why you should choose an attorney who specializes in personal injury lawsuits -- those who don't may not keep up with changes in insurance laws.
Large Settlements Are Not a Given
Many people also believe that they will almost automatically be awarded a large settlement by the courts, particularly in cases where injuries are severe. However, the economic instabilities of the past decade have caused big losses for insurance companies, and they've hired sharpshooting attorneys who use dirty tactics to make certain that they pay out as little as possible on their claims. They've also become aggressive about challenging injuries and will probably even use detectives to observe you as you go about the course of your day in order to ascertain whether your injuries are actually as severe as you are claiming. They may also try to twist things to make it seem to the court that you are not badly hurt. For instance, if you so much as pick up a garden shovel simply to move it five feet, they may use a picture of you holding it to prove to the judge that you have been engaging in strenuous physical activity.
Pain and Suffering Damages Are Not Automatic
Many of those who suffer personal injuries as a result of being involved in vehicle accidents believe that they may be automatically entitled to receive damages for pain and suffering simply by virtue of being in pain. However, most states require that certain conditions be met in order for judge to be able to consider awarding a plaintiff damages for pain and suffering. Most insurance claims will cover economic damages such as medical expenses and missed work, but pain and suffering damages are generally dependent on any long lasting effects of the accident, such as:
- Permanent disfiguration such as major scarring or burn marks, the lost of one or more body parts, or anything else that significantly effects the physical appearance of the victim.
- Impairment of bodily functions to the extent that it negatively affects the ability of the victim to live a normal life. An example would be if you were to lose the use of one or more limbs, your ability to see, or anything else that would limit your quality of life in a significant manner.
- Death. If you are killed in an automobile accident, the courts will probably award pain and suffering damages to your immediate heir, particularly if that person is a spouse or a dependent child.
Remember, there is no substitute for the services of a well-qualified, experienced personal injury attorney when it comes to dealing with the big insurance companies. Visit a site like http://www.sarklawfirm.com/ for more information.