If you have suffered an injury due to an accident, you probably have many questions and concerns. The following are common questions we receive about personal injury law and our answers. For more information, contact an experienced lawyer who can provide you with the representation you need to obtain just reimbursement.
At Goldberg Sager & Associates, our goal in representing you is to give you sound advice and guidance. We realize an accident can greatly disrupt your life.
Our lawyers can help you get the compensation you need to move on with your life. To speak with an experienced lawyer or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.
Commonly Asked Questions
How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
First, you must have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, you should consider whether your injury was someone else's fault.
How soon after I am injured do I have to file a lawsuit?
Every state has certain time limits, called statutes of limitations, which govern the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the deadline for filing your case, you may lose your legal right to collect damages for your injury. Consequently, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as you suffer or discover an injury.
What should I bring with me for my meeting with a lawyer?
You should provide a lawyer with any documents that might be relevant to your case. Police reports, for example, contain eyewitness information and details about the conditions surrounding the event from which your claim arises. Copies of medical reports and bills from doctors and hospitals help demonstrate the extent and nature of your injuries. Information about the insurer of the person who caused your injury is extremely helpful, as are any photographs you have of the accident scene, damaged property and your injuries.
The more information you are able to give your lawyer, the easier it will be for him or her to determine if your claim will be successful. If you haven't collected any documents at the time of your first meeting, however, don't worry; your lawyer can obtain them in his or her investigation of your claim.
What if a person dies before bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
If a person injured in an accident dies because of those injuries, that person's heirs may typically recover money through a lawsuit known as a wrongful death action. Also, even if a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, the personal injury claim survives in most cases and may be brought by the executor or personal representative of the deceased person's estate.
What is negligence?
The critical issue in many personal injury cases is how a reasonable person was expected to act in the particular situation that caused the injury. A person is negligent when he or she fails to act as an ordinary, reasonable person would have acted. The determination of whether a person has met the ordinary, reasonable-person standard is often resolved by a jury after presentation of evidence and argument at trial.
What if I can't prove someone's negligence caused my injury? Is there any other basis for personal injury liability besides negligence?
Yes. Some persons or companies may be held strictly liable for certain activities that harm others, even if they have not acted negligently or with wrongful intent. Under this theory, a person injured by a defective or unexpectedly dangerous product, for instance, may recover compensation from the maker or seller of the product without showing that the manufacturer or seller was actually negligent. Also, persons or companies engaged in using explosives, storing dangerous substances or keeping dangerous animals can be strictly liable for harm caused to others as a result of such activities.
Will the person who caused my injury be punished?
Not in the traditional sense of the word. Defendants in civil actions for personal injury do not receive jail terms or criminal fines as punishment. Those are criminal sentences, and personal injury cases are civil actions. However, in some cases, juries and courts can award what are called punitive damages, which are designed to punish defendants who have behaved recklessly or intentionally against the public's interest. The goal in ordering the payment of punitive damages is to discourage such defendants and others from engaging in the same kind of harmful behavior in the future.
Personal Injury Resources
In addition to providing the questions and answers above, our knowledgeable attorneys have assembled the following list of helpful injury law links:
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of property damage, serious personal injury or death from consumer products such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC's website includes recalls and product safety news, information on reporting an unsafe product and more.
- Fact Sheet Library
National Safety Council (NSC) fact sheets are resource guides that provide statistics, tips and suggestions to make life safer. This website contains more than 80 topics in four categories: agricultural safety, healthy living, environmental safety and road safety.
- Tort Law: An Overview
This website, maintained by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell University Law School, provides general information about tort law, including discussion of intentional torts, negligent torts and strict liability torts.
- Dog Bite Liability
This website contains an article from the Insurance Information Institute (III) about dog bite liability. The article discusses dog owners' liability, recent developments in state legislation, important court decisions and other related issues.
- Products Liability Law: An Overview
This website, maintained by the Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell University Law School, provides general information about the law of products liability and links to federal and state judicial decisions and statutes concerning products liability.
Contact us for a free consultation regarding your injury case.