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Personal Injury Law – Frequently Asked Questions

29th April 2010
By Penelope Stone in Personal Injury
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If you or a member of your family has been harmed by the negligence of someone else, you probably have a number of questions about your potential personal injury case. Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about personal injury law.

How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Nearly all personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they collect their attorneys’ fees from a pre-determined percentage of their clients’ settlements and jury awards. If they don’t win their cases, they don’t get paid. However, clients may be responsible for some other fees as outlined in their initial consultations with their personal injury attorneys.

What are “damages”?
Many people mistake “damages” with “damage”; that is, they think that “damages” describes the actual harm they suffer as a result of an accident. In fact, “damages” refers to the monetary compensation awarded to compensate the losses and expenses sustained by the injured plaintiff as a result of his or her injuries.

Which losses and expenses can I be compensated for?
The answer to this depends on what losses and expenses you have suffered as a result of your injury. In general, most victims can expect to receive compensation for medical and rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other demonstrable losses and expenses. If you are filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a family member, you may also be entitled to compensation for funereal costs, loss of support and consortium, lost potential earnings and benefits, and other losses and expenses that can be reasonably projected into the future.

What is the difference between a personal injury case and a criminal case?
Personal injury cases are civil cases; that is, they deal exclusively with monetary damages. A person cannot be imprisoned as a result of being found financial responsible for a person’s losses and expenses at the result of a personal injury case. A person may be forced to appear before a civil and a criminal court for a single action; however, the outcomes of each are independent of each other. For example, a person may face criminal charges of murder and be found “not guilty” in the criminal court, but still be forced to pay damages in a wrongful death claim tried in a civil court.

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