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Regardless of your employment status, an accident can happen to anyone. Personal injury accidents range greatly in levels of severity and how they occur. Not only can they leave victims with painful injuries, but they also may leave victims with towering financial burdens. This means that one of the most pressing questions on the minds of accident victims is often, “What can I recover?” They may also think they won’t receive as much if they were unemployed before an accident, but this is a case-specific question that may require a lawyer’s help to answer.
TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Personal injury accidents don’t just happen to people who work at dangerous job sites or who engage in risky hobbies. The potential for an accident to happen is all around us, and unfortunately, they happen to millions of Americans on a yearly basis.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most commonly reported type of personal injury claim, with millions of Americans being injured on the road each year and tens of thousands losing their lives. Driving presents a particularly dangerous situation because it is a daily necessity for so many and yet can be very risky when considering the size of vehicles and the speed at which they travel. Driving can become even more dangerous due to the activity of other drivers who may be driving while distracted, driving while under the influence, or simply not paying close enough attention to the rules of the road.
Slip and Fall
When compared to a high-speed auto accident, the potential for injuries from a slip and fall can seem relatively minor. However, if you are the person suffering from them, then you know just how serious they can be. Slip and falls can result in a wide variety of injuries, including to the hip area, chest, and even the brain. It may be possible to receive compensation for these injuries if the slip and fall was due to the negligence of another party.
Dogs are America’s favorite pet, as evidenced by the sheer number of families who own one of these furry companions. When trained and socialized properly, they can be a source of love and comfort for their owners and guests. However, it is important to remember that dogs can still inflict severe bodily injury and even death if they bite a victim for one reason or another. Not only are dog bite accidents potentially very harmful physically, but they can also cause trauma for the victim.
No matter what type of personal injury accident you were involved in, a good first step may be to talk over the details of what happened with an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area.
Before getting into what a personal injury claim could potentially be worth, it is important to understand their function generally and how they operate within our legal system. Simply put, negligence is the failure by one party to act in a way that they were obligated to, which results in harm to another. It is not this simple, however—establishing that a party has acted negligently requires that you prove a few distinct elements.
First, you must establish that the other party had an obligation, or duty, to act in a certain way. This duty is defined and imposed by law. For example, if you were in a car accident and the other driver was driving while under the influence at the time of the accident, duty might be established by referencing the laws in your state that prohibit this behavior.
After demonstrating that the other party had the duty to act in a certain way, you must next show that they did not act according to this duty. For example, after it has been established that driving while under the influence of alcohol is illegal, a toxicology report that reveals the blood alcohol concentration of the driver might be helpful in showing that they breached the duty to remain sober while on the road.
The next step in the chain of negligence is causation. Causation is the link between the actions of the party from whom you are seeking compensation and the injuries that you suffered. In other words, you must prove that the breach of duty actually caused the injuries for which you are seeking compensation. This can become tricky because causation can be broken down into two types: factual and legal.
The differences in the types of causation might be best illustrated by an example. Imagine you are sitting at a red light behind another vehicle when you are rear-ended. The force of the collision propels you forward into the car in front of you, and the driver of that car suffers injuries. You might be the factual cause of the first driver’s injuries because your vehicle actually caused them, but the legal cause was the breach by the driver behind you who caused your vehicle to move forward into the car in front of yours.
Finally, you must be able to show damages to be able to recover anything from a claim or lawsuit. In most cases, compensation isn’t available if you didn’t actually suffer from some sort of loss. These damages can include anything from medical bills and damage to your personal property to the pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your injuries.
WHAT CAN I RECOVER?
After getting emergency medical needs under control, many accident victims begin to wonder what their case might be worth in order to care for their needs and the needs of their families. The need for compensation can become even more pressing if you were unemployed before or during your accident. It is impossible to give a general answer as to what cases are normally worth to their victims, but damages will generally fall into one of two major categories.
Economic damages are the tangible, objectively verifiable damages that an accident victim incurs. For example, things like medical bills and repair bills for damage to your personal property are common examples that fall into this category. Economic damages can typically be proven to a fairly high degree of certainty.
Non-economic damages typically refer to the pain and suffering that an accident victim experiences as a result of their injuries. This type of damage is more difficult to prove because it is not associated with an objective factor like a bill or receipt, but it still may be available in certain cases. Generally speaking, the worse an injury is, the more may be available in the category of non-economic damages.
What If I Was Unemployed Before My Accident?
One source of potential recovery for an accident victim is lost wages, or the loss of the ability to work because of injury. If you were not employed at the time of the accident and thus didn’t lose any time at a specific job, it can be difficult to bring a claim for lost wages. However, if your injuries are severe enough that they prevent you from being able to get another job or go back to work after a planned absence, then there may be compensation available.
One example may be a parent who has elected to stay home to watch the kids. Though they weren’t working at the time of their accident, they presumably had the ability to work if they wanted to. Thus, they might be able to recover for the loss of this ability if they sustained serious injuries. This is a highly fact-specific inquiry, and your attorney may be able to give you a more detailed answer on whether you can recover if you were unemployed during your accident.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
An important consideration to keep in mind for every personal injury claim is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time that an accident victim has, starting from the date of their accident, within which to file a claim based on that accident. For example, if you were in a car accident and the statute of limitations for car accidents in your state is two years, then you have two years from the date of your accident to file a claim or else risk it being dismissed for lack of timeliness. Every state sets their own statute of limitations for all of the many types of personal injury cases, so it is important to speak with an experienced attorney in your state as soon after the accident as possible to avoid running into any issues with filing your claim on time.
CONTACT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
There is no such thing as a straightforward personal injury claim. With all of the twists and turns involved in the various types of claims, it can be critical to make sure that you have the right assistance on your side. Zinda Law Group has the necessary experience to be able to assist you and your family and is standing by for your call. What’s more, we believe that accident victims shouldn’t need to worry about their ability to afford legal representation, which is why you won’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.