If you’ve never been seriously injured, you may ask yourself what the point is of a personal injury lawsuit. If you have been injured, it may seem like filing a lawsuit is an extra burden to carry. Wouldn’t it be easier just to let the insurance company handle everything and send you a check?
The reality is that insurance companies don’t make money by paying claims generously. Far too often, insurers offer injured people far less than they could be entitled to receive.
Even if your insurance company acts in full faith, you simply don’t have a way to know if the settlement they offer will fully compensate you. Unlike a lawyer, an insurance adjuster isn’t required to act in your interest.
When someone injures you or a loved one through negligence, misconduct or an unlawful act, a personal injury lawsuit is not just about placing blame. It is your chance to hold the wrongful person accountable for their actions by ensuring they pay for what they cost you:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Lost wages while you can’t work
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological trauma
- Disability and long-term care
- Other expenses caused by the incident
You’re hurt and the bills are coming in. You need someone on your side.
Whether you were injured in a car crash, a slip and fall or another accident, you’re undoubtedly going through a trying time. It’s helpful to have a strong personal injury firm to help you get with the legal part of your journey.
Don’t hesitate to get legal help: Most personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations and take cases on a contingency-fee basis, which means that they take a percentage of any recovery they earn for you. If you don’t receive a financial recovery, you owe no legal fee.
What a personal injury lawsuit looks like
A personal injury lawsuit is a civil claim in which you, the injured person, are the plaintiff. It is filed against the person who injured you and their insurance company. In order to file a traffic crash case, you must comply with Michigan’s no-fault statute. That statute requires, in most cases, a certain amount of damages and a degree of injury called “serious impairment of bodily function.”
Personal injury lawsuits must be filed before a certain deadline, which is called the statute of limitations. In Michigan, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the incident in which you were injured.
While your attorney may file the lawsuit officially, most cases are resolved through negotiation with the affected insurance companies. This is called settlement, and it’s very common.
During the negotiation process, your attorney will carefully consider the individual facts of your case. Was the injury disabling? Will you need care in the medium- to long-term? How much did the injury cost you in terms of income? What other losses and expenses have you incurred?
Using that information, your lawyer will ask the insurance company for an amount of money that will ensure that all your losses are covered and all your needs are met, now and later. If the insurance company refuses to fully cover you, your attorney can end the negotiations and take the case to a judge and jury.