What are personal injury cases?
"Personal injury" cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become a formal “lawsuit” through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or, as is much more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal, negotiated settlement before any lawsuit is filed.
There are many types of personal injury cases including:
- Car accident
- Medical Malpractice
- Construction Defect
- Premises Liability
- Nursing Home Neglect
- Slip and Fall
- Dog Bite/Animal Attack
- Toxin Exposure
The people involved in a lawsuit are often referred to as “the parties.” This generally includes one or more plaintiff and defendant. The plaintiff has the right to assert a claim against the defendant if the plaintiff believes, and can prove, that the defendant was at fault in causing injury to the plaintiff. The defendant has the right to defend the case by presenting evidence that he was not at fault in causing the plaintiff’s injury, or that the plaintiff was not injured, or injured to the extent claimed.
What are “Lawsuits”?
Lawsuits are unlike criminal cases, which are initiated by the government. In a personal injury case, a formal lawsuit typically starts when the injured person, (the "plaintiff") files a civil "complaint" against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the "defendant"), alleging
that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm. This action is known as "filing a lawsuit". The plaintiff must then prove their case to a judge or jury. If the plaintiff succeeds before the judge or jury, the plaintiff may be awarded compensation for their injuries in the form of money.
The defendant often will deny being at fault during the lawsuit and may file affirmative defenses as to why he should not be found at fault in causing the plaintiff’s claimed injuries. The defendant can then present his evidence to a judge or jury in support of his defense to the plaintiff’s claims.
What are settlements?
In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through settlement before a lawsuit is filed. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action (such as a lawsuit), choosing instead to resolve the matter through payment of an agreeable amount of money.
The attorneys at KOEPKE & HILTABRAND focus their practice in personal injury claims.