When someone else’s reckless or irresponsible conduct is the cause of a serious injury you sustained, you may be looking into what your legal options may be. Finding a top personal injury attorney is probably one of your greatest priorities if you hope to not only hold the liable party accountable for their negligence, but also want to fight for full repayment of your financial, physical, and emotional losses.
However, the personal injury claims process can be difficult and complex. While you’re working your way through the claims process, you don’t want any unexpected surprises influencing your injury settlement. Understanding which personal injury laws are most likely to have an impact on your claim could help you better prepare for what’s to come.
We go into further detail below about two aspects critical to personal injury laws: the statute of limitations and contributory negligence.
The Statute Of Limitations
Every state has a statute of limitations in place for the vast majority of all legal matters. In civil claims and personal injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations will determine how long you have to get your lawsuit filed within the civil court system. Every state’s laws are different, but most states allow for between one and four years depending on where you live.
Making sure that your lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations expires is essential if you hope to be awarded maximum compensation. You won’t even make it to court if your claim isn’t filed before the statute of limitations runs out. You could try, but the judge will have no other choice but to dismiss your case.
You don’t want to accidentally miss this important deadline, but you may also be unsure of when the statute of limitations runs out in your case. Your best option will be to contact your lawyer in a timely manner so you don’t risk losing your injury settlement on a technicality.
Contributory negligence refers to the laws surrounding shared fault in a personal injury claim. You might be surprised to learn just how many injury victims don’t pursue a lawsuit simply because they believe that sharing fault means they are no longer entitled to compensation.
Every state’s laws are different, but there are three primary types of contributory negligence: pure contributory negligence, pure comparative negligence, and modified comparative negligence.
Pure Contributory Negligence
Very few states follow pure contributory negligence laws. But the ones that do are strict. States like North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama do not provide opportunities for individuals who are even one percent liable for the accident to be awarded compensation from the other involved party.
Pure Comparative Negligence
In contrast, states that follow pure comparative negligence laws such as Alaska, California, Louisiana, Florida, New Mexico, and Washington will allow injury victims to be awarded compensation for their suffering no matter what their percentage of fault is.
Modified Comparative Negligence
In between these extremes, we have modified comparative negligence states like Georgia, Maine, Kansas, Tennessee, and Utah. Here, sharing fault doesn’t bar you from being awarded compensation for your losses as long as your portion of fault doesn’t exceed the state’s threshold— which is usually around fifty percent.
People who share fault for an accident may be able to obtain an injury settlement in civil court as long as they do not reside in a pure contributory negligence state, but they also will need to be held accountable for their own negligence. If you share fault for an accident where you can still be awarded compensation, you should also expect your injury settlement to be reduced by your percentage of fault.
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