State By State Considerations In Personal Injury Cases

Posted on: 6 August 2015

Going to a personal injury lawyer to talk about a case? Here are some things that you may want to go over, depending on your state of residence.

Each state has a different set of rules about personal injury cases and compensation. Part of the personal injury attorney's job is to make clients aware of how things work in a particular state.

Statute of Limitations

Each state has its own statute of limitations, depending on what kind of party is being sued. For example, many states allow one to three years for a general statute of limitations for a personal injury case. This detail is important, because after the statute of limitations has passed, the injury victim may not be able to bring a case forward at all.

Legal Timelines

Different states also have different kinds of timelines for hearings and other court events. A lot of this has to do with the volume of cases that the courts handle and how they work within a community. Local injury lawyers understand how to explain these timelines to clients, to help them anticipate what they'll have to do to pursue compensation and to anticipate when they might have to show up in court.

Rules on Compensatory and Punitive Damages

The main part of what clients have to understand relates to compensatory damages, the damages that lawyers are looking for in order to cover things like medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. But each state can have its own precise rules on compensatory damages and how the plaintiff, the victim, can pursue them.

Punitive damages are added as an additional deterrent to make sure that the defendant doesn't repeat the same negligence or irresponsibility again. States also have their own rules on punitive damages and how they can be applied.

Pure Fault and Comparative Fault Systems

Another important detail in some types of injury cases is the fault system that the state uses to handle litigation. These are most common in auto accidents -- while some states allocate different percentages of fault to different drivers, other states have a different system. In some cases, injury victims cannot pursue compensation if they share fault in an injury case. Comparative fault laws in a particular state may also apply outside of auto accident injury. That's why it's important for injury lawyers to fill clients in on the state's particular requirements and rules.

In general, qualified personal injury lawyers will guide their clients through the entire process, helping to explain their legal options and any legal jargon that they may not understand. That's why it's important to have qualified legal representation in any type of personal injury case.