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How to File a Personal Injury Claim

28th September 2011
By Dennise Pinley in Personal Injury
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Personal injury law or tort law was developed to protect and compensate victims of negligence, recklessness, or the inattentiveness of others. Personal injury laws cover a wide variety of scenarios from automobile accidents, medical malpractice, dog bites, work related accidents, product defectiveness, premises liability, wrongful death, and even physical abuse.

Before filing for a personal injury claim, plaintiffs need to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who will know how to deal with the various state laws and educate the plaintiff about their rights. It is also important to file a personal injury claim in a timely manner.

All claims are subject to the statute of limitations which varies in different states. The statute of limitations refers to the timeframe when a plaintiff is allowed to file for damages, which is normally between one to three years. Typically, the statute of limitations begins on the day of injury. For example, if a person slips and falls on a slippery floor in a restaurant that failed to put up proper signage, the statute of limitations begins on that day.

Before filing a lawsuit with the help of a Fort Myers personal injury attorney, plaintiffs must be able to demonstrate that the person charged (the defendant) is legally responsible for the injury or that the injury was a result of the defendantís negligence. Legal liability is established on three primary grounds: negligence, strict liability (plaintiff was harmed by a product or service and the maker is deemed responsible), as well as intentional wrong (sexual harassment and physical assault).

When seeking damages, the Fort Myers personal injury lawyer normally pursues compensatory or punitive damages. Compensatory damages may be actual or estimated and are meant to restitute the plaintiff financially. Actual damages may be calculated based on medical bills, lost wages, or bills incurred from property damage while estimated damages are based on pain and suffering endured by the plaintiff as a direct result of the personal injury. Punitive damages, on the other hand, do not provide monetary compensation for the plaintiff.

Many plaintiffs are protected financially by contingency fees. Most Fort Myers personal injury attorney do not expect to be paid for their services unless the case settles successfully either in trial or out of court. If the case is settled successfully, they may require a pre-determined share of the monetary settlement, normally 25 to 30 percent.
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