Filing a lawsuit against a person, entity, or company that you feel has inflicted some type of harm on you can be a complicated and confusing process. While hiring a lawyer is definitely your best bet for a positive outcome, it’s still important that you fully understand the legal claims you are making.
Once you’ve educated yourself, you are better equipped to choose the right lawyer for your case. Initially, you’re going to want to learn exactly what a personal injury is, legally speaking.
Basics of personal injury
According to Canadian law, a personal injury can be any type of physical or psychological damage inflicted on an individual as a result of another legally responsible person or entity. These injuries can result from any number of accidents or intentional acts, and range from broken bones and chronic pain to memory loss and emotional distress. Most personal injury lawsuits are aimed at covering the cost of medical treatments, lost income due to not being able to work, or money damages stemming from pain and suffering.
Now that we’ve defined personal injury from a legal standpoint, let’s look at a few other important aspects of personal injury law you’ll want to be familiar with if you believe you are entitled to a claim.
Personal injury cases fall under tort law. The word “tort” in French means “a wrong”, and tort law encompasses any lawsuit or claim involving a wronged party seeking compensation for their losses, injury, etc from the responsible party. Tort law, by its very definition, is meant to ensure that those who have been wronged are compensated and simultaneously deter others from committing similar offenses in the future.
A few examples of specific torts recognized under Canadian law include negligence, product liability, and intentional emotional abuse.
Typical personal injury cases
The most common type of accidental or negligent personal injury cases are those involving motor vehicles. Most personal injury claims involving cars are resolved with insurance companies, but insurance policies can be confusing and include various limitations and clauses. In situations like these, having a lawyer on your side can be especially beneficial.
Besides cases involving cars, boating accidents caused by faulty boating equipment or insufficient harbor maintenance are also very common. Slip and fall accidents, snow vehicle accidents, and medical malpractice are just a few other reasons for accidental personal injury lawsuits. Medical malpractice cases can stem from a multitude of events, including misdiagnosing a condition, exposing a patient to a harmful substance or treatment, or administering an incorrect drug dosage. Personal injury claims involving deliberate and intentional actions are most commonly associated with physical assault, sexual abuse, or psychological terror.
The type of personal injury claim you want to make does affect which lawyer or law firm you choose to work with. For example, if you were injured during a botched surgery, a personal injury lawyer in Halifax who specializes in medical malpractice suits will be a better fit for you than another lawyer in the area who focuses on physical assault claims.
Reaching a settlement
Personal injury cases are typically settled through a court judgment or via an informal settlement reached outside of court. Most cases are actually settled informally before they reach court, as both parties usually want to reach a conclusion as soon as possible. These informal settlements are reached by holding negotiations between the plaintiff’s legal team and the defendant’s legal team. Once an amicable resolution or payment amount is reached, both parties sign an agreement not to take any further legal action regarding the matter.