We've all been hurt in accidents, even if the results are minor. But the emotional and financial consequences of injuries caused by others can be far harder to deal with and resolve. Some of the most serious injuries may even warrant a lawsuit for financial compensation.
How does a civil lawsuit start?
Criminal law involves a prosecutor filing a case with sufficient evidence. If a person believes he or she has a case for damages after a personal injury, the person must initiate the lawsuit on his or her own. This is often done through retained legal representation.
How is a civil lawsuit resolved?
If a lawsuit is successfully filed, a jury may be convened to render a finding of liability and award damages. Most lawsuits, however, are resolved before that would happen. The defendant may offer a settlement, and the case is resolved if the plaintiff accepts it.
How long does the victim of an injury have to file a lawsuit?
Every state has a different legal deadline, or statute of limitations, for each crime or offense under its law. California, for example, allows for two years after a personal injury for a lawsuit to be filed regarding liability for it.
How do I know if I have a case for personal injury damages?
Most of the precedents that govern personal injury law were decided in previous court cases about specific injuries, as well as legal academic papers written by judges and experts in the field. The best qualified person to judge the merits of a potential personal injury lawsuit is an attorney.