A person can file a personal injury claim when another person’s act causes an accident that results in their injuries. Personal injury claims are designed to repay the victim for the losses they suffered due to the opposing party’s negligence. The awards are paid by the defendant or the defendant’s insurance provider.
In a majority of cases, the parties in a personal injury matter settle their lawsuit before going to trial. In fact, although more than 400,000 personal injury cases are filed in the U.S. each year, only about 4% of personal injury claims go to trial. Trials can end up costing more money than a settlement is worth, making settling the lawsuit an attractive option in some scenarios. However, it depends on the facts of each personal injury case.
Our team at Batson Nolan, PLC, compiled some personal injury facts that can let you know what to expect from your case and dispel common personal injury myths that make people hesitant to talk to a lawyer.
Facts and Figures: Personal Injury Statistics in the U.S.
As stated above, plaintiffs filed more than 400,000 personal injury claims in the U.S. in 2020. Motor vehicle accidents were the most common type of personal injury claim, representing about 52% of all personal injury cases. The National Safety Council reported approximately 4.5 million medically consulted injury cases in 2020 from motor vehicle collisions. Product liability claims were the least common type of personal injury case, representing only 5% of all personal injury cases.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
Any harm caused by another person’s negligent or wrongful act can give rise to a personal injury lawsuit. Some common types of personal injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Boating accidents,
- Dog bites, and
- Product liability claims.
A personal injury claim allows a victim to recuperate their losses from the at-fault party by holding that party accountable for their conduct.
State-to-State Personal Injury Comparison
In some cases, falls occur due to another person’s negligent behavior and can authorize a personal injury suit. Over 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due to a fall. Tennessee reported 321,104 older adults falling in 2020, or 31.2% of their elderly population. New Mexico reported only 123,587 older adults falling in 2020, representing 33.4% of their elderly population.
Common Misconceptions About Personal Injury Law
The most common misconception about personal injury claims is the frequency with which they end up going to trial. Social media and television often only advertise cases that proceed to complex, well-publicized trials.
Despite this representation, far more personal injury claims end in a settlement long before the trial process begins.
Another common misconception about personal injury lawsuits is that you do not need a lawyer to help with your case. Personal injury claims require an in-depth analysis of complicated legal concepts like negligence and comparative fault. An attorney can walk you through these issues and prepare a strategy to bolster the strengths of your case.
Five Essential Facts About Personal Injury Law
Personal injury lawsuits make up a large chunk of litigation in the United States. Yet, many people still struggle to understand basic information about personal injury claims. Our team compiled a list of essential personal injury law facts to help outline the process.
1. Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a state law that outlines the time limit for filing a legal claim. Each type of legal claim has its own statute of limitations, whether it be a personal injury case or a property dispute. The statutory period for particular causes of action also varies from state to state.
If you get into a car accident in Clarksville, you must follow the state’s statute of limitations for either personal injury or wrongful death, depending on the situation. The statute of limitations on a personal injury claim in Tennessee is one year from the date of the accident. Certain exceptions can apply that extend the statutory period. Contact our team at Batson Nolan today so we can review your case and determine the statute of limitations on your claim.
2. Importance of Seeking Medical Treatment
You cannot succeed in a personal injury claim without proof that you suffered some kind of injury. Thus, it is critical to seek medical treatment as soon as practicable after a personal injury accident. If you do not seek medical treatment and cannot prove you suffered any injuries, you may be unable to recover compensation through a personal injury case.
3. Insurance Companies
If the at-fault party has insurance, their insurance company may cover the costs of the settlement. As stated above, the majority of personal injury claims end in a settlement before proceeding to trial. Remember, the insurance company makes more money when you accept a settlement worth less than you deserve.
Thus, their first settlement offer will almost always be for less than what you may ultimately be able to recover. An attorney can navigate settlement negotiations on your behalf and provide proof that the insurance company’s client is to blame for your injuries. We will work tirelessly to ensure your personal injury settlement fully compensates you for your losses.
4. Comparative Negligence
In many personal injury accidents, multiple people share responsibility for the accident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Sometimes, the plaintiff holds a portion of that blame. States use different theories of comparative negligence to account for the parties’ level of responsibility. Tennessee uses the legal theory of modified comparative negligence, which means that if someone suffers an injury due to someone else’s wrongful or negligent act, they can recover from the at-fault party as long as the injured person was 49% or less to blame for the accident that caused their injuries.
If a jury finds that an injured party suffered $200,000 worth of damages but was 20% at fault, the net verdict will award the injured party $160,000 because the total is reduced by the plaintiff’s portion of responsibility.
5. Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring a personal injury lawyer gives you the best opportunity to maximize your financial recovery. A qualified injury attorney can help you by:
- Talking to insurance representatives on your behalf,
- Gathering and analyzing evidence to help support your claims,
- Negotiating a fair settlement offer with opposing parties and their insurance representation,
- Locating witnesses to testify on your behalf, and
- Proceeding to trial, if necessary.
Contact an attorney at Batson Nolan immediately so we can review your case.
What to Do After a Personal Injury
If you suffer injuries in a personal injury accident, you should take the following steps to ensure your own safety and preserve evidence for your potential claim.
Contact authorities as soon as possible. The officer that responds to the incident will create a police report that details information about the accident. This is a critical step if you suffer injuries in a car or bicycle accident.
Document Evidence at the Scene
Gathering evidence at the scene of your personal injury accident can offer valuable evidence to help prove your claim. You can document the accident scene by taking photographs and collecting information about surveillance cameras in the area. You should collect names and contact information for witnesses. Also, get the names, contact information, and insurance information of anyone involved in the incident.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you suffer any injury, seek medical attention immediately. If you call the police, they can contact an ambulance to respond to the scene. Obvious injuries might include:
- Cuts or lacerations,
- Head injuries,
- Road rash,
- A concussion, or
- Broken bones.
Other injuries might hide beneath the surface and reveal themselves after time has passed. Thus, even if you have any injuries that you do not notice, still seek medical treatment after an accident. Your medical records and treatment plans will help establish your injuries and support your claim for compensation.
Contact a Lawyer
An injury lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. Established in 1860, Batson Nolan is one of the most well-respected law firms in Tennessee and upholds a legacy of passionate advocacy and aggressive representation.
Despite the popular misconception that everyone who files a lawsuit ends up going to trial, the majority of personal injury claims end in a settlement agreement. You need a personal injury attorney to protect your individual rights and fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. Our lawyers know the ins and outs of establishing when a party’s wrongful or negligent act causes another person’s injuries.
If you were injured by someone else’s actions and think you qualify to file a personal injury claim, schedule an appointment with a member of our team.