This not a secret that the Law is a very complex field of knowledge and practice. When a person faces a dilemma of whether to handle claim personally or hire an attorney one should consider many factors. One of them is an understanding of basic terms used in any legal Personal Injury claim.
Majority of Law firms or solo attorneys provide free of charge initial case evaluation. Reviewing your case by professional can end up in several ways. You can receive valuable advice and proceed with the claim personally. Another outcome is that attorney will refer you to another professional which is able to help you better. And finally, you will decide on hiring a lawyer to handle your Personal Injury claim. Yes, some simple cases, where there is no complexities are involved, may be taken care by you. But majority of injury cases are not straightforward ones, or require substantial capital to start a legal process. That is when you are probably better of going with professionals.
Before we can start talking about the legal process, lets make sure we are using a proper terminology. First of all, what is that – Personal Injury – according to the law.
It is an injury to your body, mind or feelings, and not a damage to your property
If somebody spills a hot coffee on you in a restaurant, a personal injury claim covers your pain, recovery and suffering from humiliation, but not your clothing. That simple… But again, majority of the cases are full of complexities. That is when you need a legal advise.
Another very important term used in this field of the law is “parties”, that simply means groups of people involved in a Personal Injury claim. There are, usually, two major parties in the legal process. First one is who has suffered injury, or any of the injured persons relatives who may also have a right to bring a claim. Before the process reaches the point when this group file a lawsuit, the group or an individual is called “claimants”. They become the “plaintiffs” when and if the lawsuit is filed in court.
The second group is a person, a group, or even corporation whom the injured blames for the damage. In auto accidents, for example, that might be a person who owned the vehicle that caused injury, or a company who employed that person. This groups are generally referred to as the “insureds” in an insurance claim. The injured person submits claim against insureds group or their insurance policies. If a lawsuit is filed in court, insureds will become the “defendants.” Here is an important fact that supports a need of Personal Injury Lawyer in many cases: very often only an experienced attorney can identify properly all parties involved in the claim. Simply saying, if you handle your case on your own you may leave out a defendant. That can lead to a much smaller settlement.