When individuals suffer injuries in accidents that result from another person’s negligence, they are frequently entitled to recover monetary compensation through a personal injury claim—or a lawsuit in civil court. However, the amounts and types of monetary damages an accident victim recovers will vary from case to case, depending on the specific accident-related injuries the victim suffers and the extent of their pain and suffering. Therefore, there is no such thing as an “average” settlement amount for personal injury claims and lawsuits.
The job of a personal injury lawyer is to maximize an accident victim’s settlement compensation or award as much as possible. Therefore, if you sustained injuries in a car crash, premises accident, or another occurrence due to someone else’s negligence, you should immediately contact a skilled personal injury lawyer in Alberta.
An experienced lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine if you are eligible to file a claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. If you are eligible, your lawyer can help you with every step of the process, including negotiating a settlement on your behalf and representing you at in-court legal proceedings, such as a settlement conference or jury trial.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law relies on the legal concept of negligence. An individual or entity behaves negligently when they violate the standard of conduct applicable to a hypothetical reasonable person acting under the same or similar circumstances. In some cases, this might mean that a driver violates a traffic law and causes an accident. At other times, a premises owner might fail to clean up a spill within a reasonable time, causing a property visitor to slip, fall, and injure themselves.
Some of the most common occurrences that lead to personal injury claims and lawsuits include:
- Car and truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle crashes
- Motorcycle collisions
- Slip and fall accidents on someone else’s premises
- Incidents on someone else’s premises that result from negligence or inadequate security.
If you suffered injuries in an occurrence that happened because of another individual or entity’s negligent behavior, your injury lawyer can help you take the necessary legal action. Sometimes, that might mean filing a personal injury claim with the insurance company for the at-fault party.
If the insurance company will not take your case seriously, denies fault for your accident, or offers you less compensation than your case is worth, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system. Filing a lawsuit begins the litigation process, during which the parties may continue their settlement negotiations.
If the case does not settle, the parties can resolve their claim in a courtroom or at a mediation or binding arbitration hearing outside of court. Your lawyer will help you explore your legal options and decide which option best suits your individual needs and the needs of your injury case.
Injuries that People Often Suffer in Accidents
Every accident scenario is different, and different accident victims will sustain different physical injuries. The injuries that an accident victim may suffer in a car crash or premises accident depend on the circumstances leading up to the accident, how the accident occurs, the amount of force involved, and the body parts affected.
Some common injuries that car crash and premises accident victims suffer include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Paralysis injuries
- Lacerations and other open wounds
- Soft tissue contusions
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
Most of these injuries require some degree of medical treatment. In some cases, the accident victim may need to go to a hospital emergency room or follow up with their primary care physician right after their accident. Seriously injured accident victims may also need to undergo surgery or other medical procedure, receive stitches, attend follow-up medical appointments, and undergo physical or occupational therapy.
All these types of medical treatment may cause an accident victim to experience significant pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Moreover, the accident victim may need to take time off work so that they can obtain the treatment they need.
One of the main reasons to retain a skilled personal injury lawyer is so that the lawyer can begin advocating for you while you focus your attention on getting better. While you attend medical appointments and physical therapy sessions, your lawyer can start gathering the necessary documentation, including police reports and witness statements, to prove the legal components of your injury claim and help you maximize your car settlement compensation when it comes time for settlement negotiations or a trial.
Elements to Prove in a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
An accident victim has to sufficiently prove several legal elements of negligence to obtain monetary damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. These elements are essentially the same in most personal injury claims or lawsuits, regardless of the claim’s subject matter.
First, the accident victim has to show that the at-fault entity or individual owed them a legal duty of care. In the context of a car crash, drivers owe other drivers and pedestrians a duty to drive safely and carefully at all times—and to refrain from traffic law violations. Similarly, premises owners owe visitors a legal duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition at all times and to warn about or correct both known and unknown hazards on their properties.
In addition to establishing the duty of care element, an accident victim must show that the at-fault party violated this duty of care in one or more ways. In the context of a car crash, for example, the at-fault party might have violated a traffic law, engaged in distracted driving, or operated their vehicle while intoxicated. Similarly, in a premises accident, the property owner might have failed to repair or warn about a defective staircase, spill on the floor, or another hazardous condition within a reasonable period.
Next, the accident victim must demonstrate that the accident occurred as a direct and foreseeable result of the responsible party’s negligence. Finally, the victim must show that they suffered one or more physical injuries due to the accident and the at-fault party’s negligence.
To prove these legal elements in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, an accident victim may need some help. First, they may need an accident reconstructionist who can pin down exactly how the accident occurred and who caused it. Next, they may need a medical expert who can causally relate their injuries to the subject accident to testify at trial.
A skilled personal injury lawyer in your area can help you retain the necessary experts and prove the necessary legal elements to recover monetary compensation for your injuries. The sooner you retain a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer to represent you in your case, the sooner you can start to work on pursuing the full monetary damages you need.
Factors that Influence a Monetary Settlement or Damage Award in a Personal Injury Case
Every personal injury claim and the lawsuit is different, and as a result, the types and amounts of monetary damages that accident victims recover will differ from case to case.
Some common factors that influence the monetary compensation an accident victim receives include:
- The type of accident that happened and the seriousness of the accident
- The specific injuries the accident victim suffered
- Whether one or more of the accident victim’s injuries are permanent
- The accident victim’s age at the time of the accident, along with their life expectancy, if the accident victim is pursuing permanency damages
- Whether the accident victim suffered a disabling or disfiguring injury
- The extent of the medical treatment the accident victim had to undergo following their accident
- Whether the accident victim had to miss time from work or switch careers due to the injuries they suffered in their accident
- The insurance company and adjuster with whom the accident victim is dealing during settlement negotiations and personal injury litigation
- The court or jurisdiction where the case is pending in litigation and whether or not that jurisdiction is “plaintiff-friendly.”
When an accident victim can prove every legal element of their claim successfully, they may recover various types and amounts of monetary compensation.
Those monetary damages may include compensation for their:
- Past and future pain and suffering, if their injuries cause them to experience various symptoms
- Emotional anguish or mental distress, if they experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and sought mental health treatment from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health professional
- Loss of life enjoyment, if their ability to partake in activities and their general quality of life went downhill due to their accident-related injuries
- Lost earnings, if they had to miss time from work to fully recover from their injuries and attend medical appointments
- Loss of earning capacity, if they had to take a pay cut due to a job change related to their injuries
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium, if their injuries prevented or lessened their ability to be intimate with their spouse
Total monetary damages in a personal injury case can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to the full policy limits of insurance coverage available.
Some of the most valuable personal injury cases from a monetary perspective include those that involve:
- Amputation of one or more limbs
- The inability to use one or more body parts due to paralysis
- Loss of feeling or sensation in one or more body parts
- Permanent injuries where the accident victim is unlikely to recover fully
- Ongoing medical treatment or long-term care, such as at an assisted living facility or nursing home
- Permanent disfigurement that a surgical procedure cannot correct
- Wrongful death, where the accident victim suffered fatal injuries due to someone else’s intentional, reckless, negligent, or otherwise wrongful act or omission
If you suffered injuries in a recent accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, your lawyer can explore all of these potential damages with you and help you set realistic expectations for your case. Your lawyer can then help to maximize your monetary recovery by aggressively advocating during settlement negotiations—as well as in the courtroom—on your behalf.
Filing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit for Damages
As soon as possible after an accident, the accident victim must take prompt legal action. Failing to do so can jeopardize their claim or lawsuit and prevent them from recovering the monetary damages they need.
When someone else causes an accident, the accident victim only has two years from their accident date to file a claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary recovery. The statute of limitations clock begins to run on the date when the accident occurs, and it expires exactly two years later. If the accident victim files their lawsuit even one day after the deadline expires, the court will not allow them to seek or recover any monetary compensation for their injuries. Therefore, taking prompt legal action in a personal injury case is vital.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can file a lawsuit promptly and begin negotiating the good settlement offer compensation you deserve to recover for all of your injuries.
Talk With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a recent car accident or premises accident, you should obtain the legal help that you need right away. Waiting too long to seek out experienced legal representation can jeopardize your claim-filing eligibility, as well as your right to recover significant monetary damages in your case. Therefore, the sooner you reach out to experienced legal counsel in your case, the higher your likelihood of recovering favorable monetary damages.
A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Edmonton handling your case can help you maximize your damages by downplaying any weaknesses in your case, such as pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.
Your lawyer can also highlight the strengths of your case, including your injuries, favorable medical treatment records, witness statements, and injury photographs, during settlement negotiations and litigation. Your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way, zealously advocating for your legal interests and helping you obtain the best possible result in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.