Information on navigating personal injury claims
Legal Definition of Personal Injury Claim
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, “Personal Injury” carries the following definition:
“In a narrow sense, a hurt or damage done to a man’s person, such as a cut or bruise, a broken limb, or the like, as distinguished from an injury to his property or his reputation. The phrase is chiefly used in this connection with actions of tort for negligence and under worker’s compensation statutes…”
You should note that a personal injury claim, by definition, does NOT include a claim for damage done to property, such as an automobile or its contents.
Also note, a personal injury claim, by definition, DOES include claims for the death of a family member by wrongful means (wrongful death claims).
Personal Injury Claims and Negligence
Typically, personal injury claims are the result of the negligence of another person. Common sources of personal injury claims include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Automobile accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Defective product claims
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall claims
Claimant: The person making the claim under an insurance policy. Usually the victim (you).Participants in a Personal Injury Claim
There are nine main participants in a personal injury claim. In following the progress of your claim, it will be useful for you to understand the terms by which these participants are referred to:
- Tortfeasor: The person causing the injuries. Also known as the “At-Fault-Party” or the “Defendant.”
- Attorney: Person licensed to practice law who represents a Claimant or a party to a lawsuit.
- Adjuster: Person hired or employed by an insurance company to settle a claim. The adjuster’s job is to avoid paying out money under the claim, or to pay the minimum possible.
- First Party Insurance: Your insurance.
- Third Party Insurance: The other person’s insurance.
- Plaintiff: The party to a lawsuit who files the suit (you).
- Defendant: The person being sued.
- Party: A plaintiff or a defendant.
Your Personal Injury Claim and the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier
If you are the victim of a personal injury and are considering making a claim, you may benefit from reading this article: Why Get an Attorney?
At the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier, we emphasize handling personal injury cases. As a result, you can leave your personal injury claim worries to us knowing they will be managed from beginning to end in a timely and affordable manner that only comes through extensive experienceand a focus on efficiency.
To successfully navigate the maze of your personal injury claim, contact us today.
Understand Common Legal Terms Related to Personal Injury
At the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier, we personally manage your case so you can be restored physically, emotionally and financially without having to worry about new personal injury terms, concepts and procedures.
At the same time, we appreciate that you may want more information on the personal injury claim process. That is why we’ve prepared this glossary of some of the most common terms you may encounter:
Common Personal Injury-Related Terms
Adjuster: Person hired or employed by an insurance company to settle a claim. The adjuster’s job is to avoid paying out money under the claim, or to pay the minimum possible.
Arbitration: The trial process where attorneys for the Claimant and Defendant argue their respective cases before a judge.
Attorney: Person licensed to practice law who represents a Claimant or a party to a lawsuit.
Claim: A formally processed assertion of the right to money or property.
Claimant: The person making the claim under an insurance policy. Usually the victim (you).
contingent fee: An arrangement which sets the attorney’s fee as a percentage of the total recovery. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. This method allows the Claimant (injured person) to retain high quality legal counsel without incurring expensive advance payments.
Coverage: The extent of protection specified in an insurance policy.
Coverages: Items, conditions, and/or situations specified as being protected by an insurance policy.
Defendant: The person being sued.
First Party Insurance: The Claimant’s (your) insurance.
Plaintiff: The party to a lawsuit who files the suit (you).
Party: A plaintiff or a defendant.
Third Party Insurance: The Defendant’s (other person’s) insurance.
Tortfeasor: The person causing the injuries. Also known as the “At-Fault-Party” or the “Defendant.”
Even Minor Accidents Can Cause Whiplash
Whiplash is a serious injury. However, it does not require being in a serious accident.
For this reason, many people who suffer a minor accident, such as being rear ended in a car, fail to realize they may be suffering from whiplash. In turn, they may fail to exercise their right to file a personal injury claim.
Whiplash Statistics and Facts
Over 3 million Americans a year suffer a whiplash-causing accident. Surprisingly, most rear impact car accidents that cause whiplash occur at speeds below 12 mph. In low speed rear impact crashes, the reported risk of injury is 35 to 68% despite most cars experiencing no structural damage at such speeds.
Contrary to popular belief, injury potential from an accident cannot be predicted by accident reconstructionists or the victim’s pre-injury psychological makeup. The “minor” neck-related injuries that follow such crashes account for up to 60% of all permanent impairment claims, and approximately 10% of those injured become permanently disabled.
Common Symptoms Following Whiplash
If you have been in an accident, some of the most common whiplash symptoms to be aware of are:
- Neck pain (92%)
- Headache (57%)
- Fatigue (56%)
- Shoulder pain (49%)
- Anxiety (44%)
Other common whiplash symptoms include low back pain, sleep disturbance, impaired concentration, blurred vision, irritability, dizziness, forgetfulness, and others.
Whiplash and the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier
If you are experiencing whiplash due to an accident, you need time, rest and support to recover.
At the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier, we emphasize handling personal injury cases. As a result, you can best focus on your recovery by leaving the details of your personal injury claim to our highly experienced attorneys.
If you are looking for the whiplash relief you need and the settlement you deserve, contact us today.
Accidents and Trauma
Based on “Stress Free Living,” by Powell Travor, OK Publishing, 1997
We all experience accidents. But not all accidents lead to trauma.
Trauma is experienced when an accident we experience or witness undermines one or more of our fundamental beliefs.
For example, if you drove a car for years without getting in an accident, you may come to believe and expect you would never be in an accident. Then, if you one day had a car accident, that experience would undermine your belief that you would never be in an accident.
The more an accident goes against one of your fundamental beliefs, the more likely you’ll experience trauma.
Physical Effects of Trauma
When we experience an accident that causes trauma, there may be obvious physical effects, such as bruises or broken bones. At the same time, other physical effects may be less obvious, such as:
- Feeling tired or low energy
- Inability to concentrate or remember events accurately
- Pains and headaches due to increased muscle tension
- Feeling over aroused, sleep problems, including nightmares and flashbacks
Emotional and Social Effects of Trauma
Trauma-causing accidents can lead to emotional and social effects that are also often less than obvious, such as:
- Fear of another accident occurring, or of how you will cope
- Guilt over surviving or being better off than other victims of the accident
- Regret for things not done
- Shame over how you “failed” to respond to the accident, or over having an “emotional” response
- Anger toward what happened, who caused it, or others’ lack of understanding
- Disappointment over unfulfilled plans made impossible by the accident
Returning to Normal
Recovery from a trauma-causing accident involves attending to issues across the entire spectrum of your life:
- Emotions: Express your emotions in order to work through them, even allowing situations to trigger memories of the accident. The feelings associated with the accident will take time to soften, so allow yourself to explore the feelings you have, even if what you feel is numbness.
- Relationships: Your relationships may shift due to the accident or due to you viewing yourself differently after the fact. Be open in your communication with the people in your life, especially children who may be experiencing emotions similar to yours.
- Physical: Rest, relax and eat well. Your body may need more time to recover than you expect, being more deeply hurt than you know.
- Routine: Keep active, but not overactive. Try to maintain your pre-accident activities if comfortably possible.
Your Trauma and the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier
If you are experiencing trauma due to a personal injury, you need time, rest and support to recover.
At the Law Offices of Steven D. Weier, we emphasize handling personal injury cases . As a result, you can focus on getting better while leaving the details of your personal injury claim to our highly experienced attorneys.
If you are looking for the trauma relief you need, contact us today.