Hiring a personal injury lawyer is not something you ever thought you would need to do. However, accidents and other wrongdoing are not uncommon, and the need to seek compensation from those responsible for your injuries suddenly becomes the pressing task at hand.
If you are an injured victim needing to recover damages, you likely have a lot of questions about what a personal injury lawyer actually does. You might also be wondering whether you should hire an attorney or try to handle the process by yourself.
In this article, we will explain personal injury law, what a personal injury lawyer does, and how they can help you following a serious injury.
If you have questions or would like to get started on your personal injury case, call Slater & Zurz at (888) 534-4850 to arrange a FREE consultation. With over 100 years of collective experience, our Ohio personal injury lawyers can expertly assist you in seeking justice and securing financial compensation for your losses.
Ohio Personal Injury law
Personal injury law, sometimes referred to as “tort law,” aims to protect you and your property in the event you were injured or harmed due to someone else’s negligent actions or inaction. In a successful personal injury case, the person or entity who caused the harm is ordered to compensate the injured or harmed victim for the losses they suffered as a result.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in Ohio
Personal injury covers a broad range of circumstances and, therefore, types of cases. However, personal injury claims frequently involve the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck and motorcycle accidents
- Accidents involving bicyclists or pedestrians
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Dog bites
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Construction or workplace accidents
- Wrongful death
Personal Injury and Negligence
Personal injury or tort law is typically centered around the basis of negligence. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, which in turn results in injury or other harm to another.
In personal injury law, there are four elements to negligence. To bring a successful personal injury claim, you and your lawyer will need to prove all four of the following elements.
- Duty of care – The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff to act or not act in such a way as to avoid causing harm or injury. For example, a motorist has a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner.
- Breach of duty – The defendant breached their legal duty by acting or not acting in a reasonably cautious manner. For instance, a driver breaches their duty of care by exceeding the speed limit or running red lights.
- Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff harm or injury. People can act negligently but if harm or injury doesn’t result from that negligence, a plaintiff will not be able to bring a successful claim.
- Damages – The plaintiff suffered losses as a result of the injury. For example, a plaintiff can recover their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages caused by their injuries.
Compensation in a Personal Injury Case
Personal injury cases help injured victims recover financial compensation for their losses. There are three types of compensation sought in a personal injury lawsuit: special compensatory damages, general compensatory damages, and punitive damages.
Special damages include specific costs or expenses the plaintiff incurred as a result of their injury. These costs include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Costs for future medical and rehabilitative care
- Lost past and future earnings
- Assistive care
- Property damage that resulted from the accident
General damages aim to compensate a plaintiff for losses that are much more difficult to calculate. These losses include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
Lastly, a judge or jury can award punitive damages. Punitive damages are rare and are only given when the defendant’s actions are especially egregious or harmful. When punitive damages are awarded, it is not in an attempt to compensate the plaintiff. Rather, it serves as punishment to the defendant and serves as a deterrent for the defendant and others to act in a similar manner.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?
Although injured victims can typically file an insurance claim without the assistance of a lawyer, it is generally best to hire an Ohio personal injury attorney. A lawyer offers valuable insight and assistance during the claims process. An attorney will:
- Make sure you receive adequate medical care.
- Communicate with the insurance company and opposing attorneys.
- Investigate the accident or incident that led to your injury.
- Compile evidence that proves who or what was at fault for the accident.
- Work with experts to fully assess and show all your past and future damages.
- Negotiate with the insurance company to come to an acceptable agreement
- Take the matter to court and present your case to a judge or jury, if necessary.
Why Should I Hire an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney?
Fighting for compensation while also recovering from your injuries can often prove to be overwhelming. But having a lawyer on your side can ease some of the stress and frustration of filing an injury claim. An attorney will help streamline the process and maximize your chances of successfully securing damages by:
- Explain the claims process and go over what you can expect.
- Handle the legal process so you can focus on recovering.
- Taking over all communication with the insurance company and third parties relating to the case.
- Making sure nothing is said or done that could potentially hurt your case.
- Protect your legal rights and look out for your best interests through every step of the process.
- Helping you avoid the many pitfalls that can occur during the claims process.
Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of hiring a personal injury lawyer is that it shows the insurance company you are serious about securing damages and are willing and able to fight to get the compensation you deserve.
Additionally, when you hire an attorney with a known reputation for aggressively standing up to insurance companies, the insurer is often more willing to offer a fair settlement.
Contact Ohio’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers at Slater & Zurz
If you were recently injured as a result of another party’s actions, we can help. Our experienced team of Ohio personal injury lawyers is ready to utilize our knowledge, skills, and resources to help you secure justice. To learn more about how we can help you in your personal injury case, call (888) 534-4850 to arrange a FREE consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have offices in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo to assist you.