When you suffer from a personal injury and believe someone else’s actions or negligence caused the injury, you’ll likely want to file a claim, starting legal proceedings to secure compensation.
While it may be challenging given your injury, the first steps are essential to ensuring you have a winning case. If you can, take notes, get photos, approach witnesses, and gather any other information that can help you win your case before even hiring a lawyer. Next, you’ll want to dive deeper into personal injury law so you know what to look for and what to expect from the lawyer you hire.
Understanding the Basics of Personal Injury Law
Personal injury law governs legal disputes that occur after someone claims that another person caused their injuries, often through negligence. The monetary compensation you receive in a personal injury law case is called damages. The sum of damages you can receive will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of your injuries and the circumstances that led to the injury. It’s essential to find the best personal injury lawyer available to ensure you receive the maximum compensation.
When to a File A Claim
Many different circumstances, some malicious and some accidental, can be considered personal injury cases. In the state of Oregon, a few examples include: getting hit by a car, getting into a car accident, slipping and falling, suffering abuse, getting attack by a pet, and many more forms of accidents. If you’re unsure whether the injury you suffered counts as a personal injury, it’s a good idea to look into similar situations and find out who won the case.
What to Expect if You File A Claim
When filing your personal injury claim in Oregon, you should know the stages of personal injury lawsuits. This can help you make a more informed decision when finding a lawyer and understand what to expect throughout the process.
- Finding the Right Representation– If you have suffered a severe injury, it’s essential to find a lawyer who is well versed in injury law.
- The Review of Your Situation– The next stage is where your lawyer will take the time to investigate the case you’ve been in. This will include interviews, gathering evidence, and looking over that evidence.
- Putting Together Your Demands– After your representation has had the time needed to review your case, they will put together your demands. This is everything you hope to get as compensation for the situation you’ve been a victim of. During this time, the parties will have a chance to negotiate outside of court. If there is no agreement made during this stage, your lawyer will process your case with the courts.
- The Discovery– After you file a lawsuit with the courts, the lawyers on each side will get time to investigate and go over the evidence about the incident to build a defense. This is known as the discovery process.
- Mediation, Negotiation, and Trial– If the lawyers involved can’t agree on a deal during the discovery phase, the case will go to trial before a judge.
Finding Who’s at Fault
Oregon uses a modified comparative fault system to deliberate on personal injury cases. This system allows plaintiffs to receive damages even if they’re found up to 50 percent responsible for the accident. If they share more than 50 percent responsibility, they will receive any compensation.
What factors make an individual responsible for a certain percent of an injury? Personal injury law generally uses carelessness as a measure of fault and compares how carless one party acted compared to the other. For example, being in a location where you should have known the danger that caused the injury was likely to occur counts as carelessness.
How is a person’s level of carelessness translated into a percentage? According to NOLO:
“There is no formula for arriving at a precise number for a person’s comparative carelessness. During claim negotiations, you and an insurance adjuster will discuss all the factors that might have resulted in the accident. Then the question of your own carelessness goes into the negotiating hopper along with all the other factors that determine how much your claim is worth.”
Finding a Lawyer You Can Trust
Finding an excellent personal injury lawyer in Oregon is the best defense you can have when filing a claim. Do your research, gather the evidence you can at the time of injury, and you’ll have the best chances of receiving substantial damages.