Ultimately, your attorney is in the best position to let you know when a settlement offer is fair, or when your case is strong and you should go to trial. Make sure you consult with a qualified lawyer before giving up your right to sue or accepting or turning down a settlement, as once you make a decision on accepting a settlement, you cannot simply change your mind later on.
With over 40,000 Americans dying in car crashes each year, it is no surprise that automobile accidents are a prolific source of personal injury cases. To be fair, there are many common causes of car accidents: rubbernecking, cell phone use, driver fatigue, distracting passengers, and changing the radio station all rate near the top. If you have been injured in an accident or injured someone else in a collision, you should realize the importance of proving fault in auto accidents. Choosing the right lawyer for your auto accident case can help tremendously, especially if "fault" in your situation is unclear or in debate.
Common types of personal injury claims include road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, and product defect accidents (product liability). The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which may lead to medical negligence claims ) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, and repetitive strain injury cases. Of these, the most common are automobile collisions. Personal injury cases may also include toxic torts, in which a contaminant transmitted by air or water causes illness, injury, or death (as in John Grisham's book, A Civil Action).
Many people are injured each year because they slip on a wet floor, tumble down a defective staircase, or trip on uneven ground. When a visitor slips and falls on somebody else's property and is injured, he or she may be able to bring a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner or occupant to recover damages. In most states, whether the visitor is able to recover will depend on the visitor's status on the property and on whether the property owner or occupant used reasonable care to prevent slips and falls on the property.
Any negligence claim often hinges on whether the defendant acted reasonably. In determining a property owner's "reasonableness," the law concentrates on whether the owner makes regular and thorough efforts to keep the property safe and clean. Here are some initial questions you can ask to determine whether a property or business owner may be liable for your slip or trip and fall injuries:
Whether someone acted negligently will depend on what they knew. This is especially true in slip and fall cases, as the defendant's knowledge of the dangerous condition will usually be determinative. The plaintiff is entitled to find out what the defendant knew through a procedure called discovery. During discovery, the defendant can be forced to turn over maintenance records, repair logs, surveillance video, and other such items.
Violations of statutory law and vehicle code are often cited to establish negligence in motor vehicle accidents. If, for example, a driver failed to stop at a stop sign causing an accident, that statutory violation could be enough to establish fault in that accident. Establishing fault in a motor vehicle accident can be more complicated in some cases, however. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer like the attorneys at Ankin Law Office. Our attorneys can help you determine who is at fault for the accident and seek damages where appropriate. Waukegan car accident lawyers at Ankin Law Office deal with these issues on a regular basis, so if you’ve been injured, please give them a call.
Research has shown that, across all collision types, it is less likely that seat belts were worn in collisions involving death or serious injury, rather than light injury; wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death by about 45 percent. Seat belt use is controversial, with notable critics such as Professor John Adams suggesting that their use may lead to a net increase in road casualties due to a phenomenon known as risk compensation. However, actual observation of driver behaviors before and after seat belt laws does not support the risk compensation hypothesis. Several important driving behaviors were observed on the road before and after the belt use law was enforced in Newfoundland, and in Nova Scotia during the same period without a law. Belt use increased from 16 percent to 77 percent in Newfoundland and remained virtually unchanged in Nova Scotia. Four driver behaviors (speed, stopping at intersections when the control light was amber, turning left in front of oncoming traffic, and gaps in following distance) were measured at various sites before and after the law. Changes in these behaviors in Newfoundland were similar to those in Nova Scotia, except that drivers in Newfoundland drove slower on expressways after the law, contrary to the risk compensation theory.
In England and Wales, under the limitation rules, where an individual is bringing a claim for compensation, court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the accident, failing which the claimant will lose the right to bring his or her claim. However, injured parties who were under the age of 18 at the time of their accidents have until the day prior to their 21st birthdays to commence proceedings. A court has the discretion to extend or waive the limitation period if it is considered equitable to do so. Another exception is if the accident caused an injury, as an example industrial deafness, then the three-year period will start from when injured party knew or ought to have known that he or she had a claim.
Punitive damages are awarded to the injured plaintiff, but the real goal of these kinds of damages is to punish the defendant for its conduct -- to "hit them in the pocketbook," so to speak -- and to act as a deterrent. Since it isn't unusual for punitive damage awards to top tens of millions of dollars, most states have set some type of cap on punitive damage awards in personal injury cases.