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What is a personal injury claim?

Protecting one's rights after an accident or injury is very important. There will likely be times when issues can be resolved easily. Other times, many details, financial needs, emotional upheaval and family upset are involved in the recovery process. In these situations, careful review of each aspect of the matter is a helpful approach. Understanding the circumstances from a legal perspective is a good place to start.

A personal injury case is a dispute that begins because a victim has been hurt in an accident or occurrence for which someone else might be responsible. Most of the laws governing personal injury claims in the courts have been set through precedent. In other words, previous court decisions contributed to the development of laws.

Car and truck accident lawsuits are formal civil proceedings that begin when a complaint is filed by one person against another person, business, entity or organization. There can be multiple defendants named depending upon the accident circumstances. The complaint sets out in writing the facts and claims a victim alleges regarding the carelessness, negligence or irresponsibility of the defendant. State laws establish a time-frame within which plaintiffs must bring an action for personal injury. It's known as the statute of limitations, and it can vary based on the type of injury involved.

Most personal injury claims are resolved without actually going to trial. Known as informal settlements, agreements among victims, defendants, insurers and legal counsel for all parties can bring the matter to a conclusion with the payment of funds determined to be acceptable to everyone. Between a formal lawsuit and an informal settlement in most jurisdictions is a process called alternative dispute resolution. This process provides an objective facilitator to might help the negotiations along, still with the goal of avoiding trial.

An experienced review of all facts relating to the accident is needed to determine if a personal injury claim is appropriate. If it is, a strategy based on the strength of the case will indicate how best a victim should proceed.

Source: FindLaw, "Personal Injury Law: The Basics," accessed May. 08, 2015

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