Most people fear that if they sue someone for personal injury, it will cause a bigger disruption to that person’s life than the injury has caused their own. In reality, that is almost never the case.
Even if the incident involved gross negligence and preventable injury, there are limits to what most peoples’ consciences will allow them to do in response. A competent personal injury attorney can help you sort out all the details and guide you toward the best possible decision on how to proceed. To set your mind at ease, please consider the following about your case.
Understanding Your Rights
It is important to recognize that, as the injured party, you have a responsibility to ensure that your life and livelihood are protected. Barring any action on your part that might have contributed to the injury, you are entitled to full compensation for any pain, suffering, or inconvenience that results from it. You are also entitled to receive compensation that will help you maintain your lifestyle and allow for any treatments or accommodations necessitated by the injury.
While most people would agree that the above statements are true, many still have misgivings about “going after” someone to seek that compensation. What some people don’t understand is that the law is designed in a way that protects otherwise responsible people when mistakes occur or when momentary lapses in judgment result in someone else getting hurt.
Who Pays If I Win My Case?
In a vast majority of cases, personal injury suits are settled either through an amicable agreement between your lawyer and the one representing the negligent party. The other party’s lawyer typically represents an insurance company, not the individual responsible for the injury. In these cases, it is the insurance company, not the individual, who winds up paying the settlement or judgment.
While some cases of negligence will personally impact the defendant’s personal assets, these instances are rare. Most premises liability, workplace accident, and auto accident cases involve specific types of insurance that exist to address common personal injury issues.
Most property owners and managers carry insurance to cover even severe injury or wrongful death cases. A vast majority of workplace accidents are covered under Worker’s Compensation, and damages in auto accident claims are usually covered under either liability or uninsured motorist insurance.
It is a rare case that your effort to recover compensation for your injuries will do irreparable damage to someone else’s livelihood or lifestyle. The negligent party could see a hike in his or her insurance rates, but would not typically become crippled financially over a single personal injury lawsuit.
Don’t think about the process as “suing someone.” Think of it as “seeking damages.” You are not attacking a person. You are simply using an established system – one that is designed to deal with these types of circumstances and protect all parties involved – to your best advantage.
Your Duty To Respond
If you have become the victim of someone else’s negligence, chances are good that the negligent party either has a history of negligent behavior or is not aware of the extent of his or her duty of care to prevent injury in a given circumstance. Whether accidental or deliberate, addressing the issue could help prevent future accidents and tragedies for other people.
You owe it to yourself (and to anyone who might wind up having a similar experience with the same defendant) to address the issue legally. In doing so, you send the message that the type of negligence that led to your injury cannot and will not be tolerated.
Finally, and most importantly, we encourage you to seek the help and advice of an experienced personal injury attorney before settling with an insurance company. If you settle your case without a lawyer for the express purpose of not having to sue someone, you will likely forfeit a significant amount of the compensation you deserve.