Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Possible Outcomes of a Personal Injury Case

If you suffer an injury as the result of someone else’s actions or negligence, you may find yourself in the position to seek financial compensation for physical, financial, and/or emotional damages.
Tort law exists exactly for this reason: so that those who are responsible pay for their damages, and so that those who are not responsible aren’t stuck with the bills and burden. Most injury victims will already have to live from some time, or even the rest of their lives, with an injury or disability. They shouldn’t also have to pay the costs.
A personal injury claim allows a person who’s been injured by someone else’s negligence (called the plaintiff) to seek compensation for their injury from those who are at fault or hold legal responsibility (called the defendant).
If you have recently been injured in an auto accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall, because of a defective product, or otherwise because of someone’s negligence, you may find yourself wondering about what might happen.
This article will seek to explain some of the different types of outcomes a personal injury case may have and what possible compensation someone could expect to receive from each decision.
The plaintiff drops their case
It is possible that a person who has been injured may decide to drop the case before it ever begins or midway through. Despite the reasons someone may have for doing this, it is a possible outcome that should be listed here for completeness.
If the plaintiff does decide to drop the case, they can expect:
  • That they will not be compensated, since this obviously provides no opportunity to claim damages from the injury.
  • The plaintiff will still have to compensate their attorney for any costs and time they have spent on the case up to that point. Depending on the agreement, there is a chance that no payment will be expected.
  • The defendant may seek compensation from the plaintiff for the time and money that they have already begun to invest in defending themselves or their client.
  • The plaintiff may not be able to change their mind and refile the case. This is dependent on the statute of limitations for that area of the law and if the case was dismissed without prejudice.

The case is settled before trial
Most personal injury claims will never go before a court for a trial. Some scholars have suggested that as high as 95% of cases are settled out of court, but that is dependent on the type of case and place. For the most part, it is safe to assume that a high percentage of personal injury cases are settled through some sort of negotiation.
A settlement is a formal contract between the plaintiff and the defendant in which the plaintiff agrees to

drop the lawsuit in exchange for monetary compensation. Once a settlement is agreed on, it is then taken to a judge to make it bound by law.
No two settlements are alike. When attorneys advertise that they got a certain person a large sum of money, they are trying to deceive potential clients into thinking that could be them. Even the exact same injury that occurred in a very similar manner under very similar circumstances could have very different outcomes. There are many variables.
Personal injury cases are often negotiated through something called, mediation. This is where you and your attorney sit down with the opposing attorney to try and work out a deal. For more details on mediation, read this thorough blog post.
If a case does settle, it is likely that the plaintiff will receive some combination of the following:
  • Compensation for medical bills (past, present, and future).
  • Compensation for lost wages, if the injured was prevented from working. This would also cover future lost wages if the injured is not be able to work, or work at the same level, in the future.
  • Compensation for physical damages, like those to a vehicle or other property.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering and any emotional distress that may have occurred

Regardless of the statistics, settlement is a very common outcome for someone who has a legitimate case. It is easier and less expensive for all parties involved, including the defendant, plaintiff, and courts.
The injured party wins at trial
If a settlement cannot be reached, than the case will likely go to trial. It is at this point that a judge, or more likely a jury, will hear the facts and make a ruling in the outcome of the case. When the plaintiff wins their court case, they will be compensated for their injuries and damages.
This compensation will cover the same things that a settlement would cover (listed above).
If there is more to the case than just a matter of personal compensation, like medical malpractice or defective medication, those held responsible may face fines, penalties, or loss of license, among a host of other possible outcomes.
The defendant wins at trial
If the plaintiff loses and the defendant wins at trial, the injured party will not be compensated for their injuries. If this is the case, they will be responsible for paying the taxable costs of the defendant. These costs may include:
  • Any court filing fees (costs that a court charges to deal with paperwork)
  • Fees for service of process (getting the case started with the parties and court)
  • Witness fees (costs for processing a witness, like taking a deposition)
  • Attorneys' fees (including and up to those allowed by law)

The trial verdict is appealed

Whether the case is ruled in favor of the plaintiff or in favor of the defendant, either party has the right to appeal the decision within thirty (30) days of the ruling.
During this point, it is up to the party who is appealing to prove to the appellate court that something was wrong with the original court case. It is not, in effect, a redo. The appellate court will then decide to uphold the verdict or turn over the ruling. In the rare cases that verdict is over turned, it is back to square one for both parties to try and reach a settlement.
Dolman Law Group
If you have been physically injured as a result of someone’s negligence or actions, the advice and representation of a Clearwater injury attorney will help you to navigate the array of legal issues and proceedings that will likely surface. Dolman Law Group is a plaintiff law firm that focuses solely on personal injury law.
We have seen first-hand the devastating consequences an injury or accident can have on innocent victims and their families.
Our attorneys have significant experience in handling complicated car accident and medical injury claims while recovering compensation for Tampa Bay injury victims. If you are injured, do not go at it alone, you can be sure the insurance company will be consulting with lawyers and should be too.
We look forward to helping you. Contact us at (724) 451-6900 for a no-cost consultation.


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