This is a good place to begin a discussion, since not everyone knows what exactly a personal injury or accident case is. A personal injury claim, whether it involves an auto, bike, truck, or slip and fall, means any incident where a person has been injured or killed because someone or something (such as a business) was negligent.
Negligence has been defined in many ways by the courts. One definition is the failure to exercise due care. Another is the failure to exercise the care of a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar circumstances. Huh? Basically negligence = carelessness. The list of negligent acts could fill could fill several books. At the law office of D.J. Banovitz, L.L.C. we only handle certain types of negligence cases. These cases generally are auto, motorcycle, pedestrian, bike, premises liability (slip and fall) and limited products liability. Negligence is a complex area of the law. Beware of lawyers who have a long grocery list of the types of cases they handle. It just isn’t possible to be competent, let alone superior, in them all. They just might be jacks of all trades and masters of none.
Personal Injury Claim v. Property Damage Claim
If you were in an automobile accident but only your car is damaged, you don’t have a personal injury claim. You have a property damage claim. We don’t handle claims that only involve property damage. Most folks settle their own property damage claims even if they have personal injury claims. I have dedicated a section of my FREE BOOK and this website to provide you with solid information on how to settle your property damage claim. In some instances we will assist our clients with settling their property damage claims and never charge a fee. I think this is a courtesy that all injury lawyers should show their clients. Helping someone settle a property damage claim– only to take a percentage fee so the person ends up unable to replace his or her car– just wouldn’t be fair.
To get money for personal injuries such as pain and suffering, medical bills, past and future lost wages, scarring, disfigurement, impairment and any other appropriate losses, the negligent or careless act must have caused injury. This is an area hotly disputed by insurance companies and defense lawyers, aided and abetted by doctors who act as paid opinion witnesses. Frequently, they will admit fault on behalf of the wrongdoer but deny that the accident caused your injuries. This is especially true in car accidents with little visible damage or if you have had prior or preexisting injury to the same part of your body. It seems that for insurance companies “you broke it you bought it” doesn’t apply. Unfortunately, sometimes juries agree with them. Fair? Of course not. You need an experienced lawyer to advise you whether you have a case, whether your case should be settled and whether your case should go to trial.