As of 2020, the median payout for personal injury lawsuits was $31,000.
These numbers rise to $679,000 for medical malpractice.
But what constitutes a personal injury? How do you know when you should seek legal help?
Keep reading to learn about what a personal injury is and how having legal representation can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any injury to the body as opposed to a piece of property. For example, let's say someone got into a car accident while driving down the highway in Austin and the accident wasn't their fault.
An injury to a piece of property in this case might be a damaged car. Personal injury would be the concussion the person got in the accident.
A personal injury doesn't just have to be physical. You can also claim damages for injury to the mind or emotions.
If you were in a car accident that wasn't your fault, injury to the emotions could include anxiety while driving.
Aside from motor vehicle accidents, some other common types of personal injury include slip and fall, construction accidents, defective products, and nursing home abuse.
Personal Injury vs. Bodily Injury
People sometimes get these two terms confused, but it's important to understand the difference, especially when dealing with your insurance company.
Bodily injury refers to only the physical injuries you sustain in an accident, such as a broken arm. Personal injury includes physical injuries and includes emotional or mental injuries, such as brain injury or PTSD.
Depending on your insurance, bodily injury liability coverage can include compensation for injuries you sustain to your body. On the other hand, personal injury protection (PIP) can include coverage for expenses related to your injury, such as physiotherapy and lost income.
States may also vary in what's legally considered to be a personal injury, which makes it even more important to contact an experienced attorney.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the most common personal injuries that people seek legal representation for. The variety of injuries is large, ranging from broken arms to severe brain injuries.
If you've been in a motor vehicle accident and it wasn't your fault, chances are you're facing more than just whiplash or bruises. Other consequences include a slew of medical bills, tests such as CT scans and MRIs, pain, and lost wages if you've been unable to work.
If you've been in a motor vehicle accident, make sure to see your doctor as soon as possible. Even if you're not severely hurt, it's important to document your symptoms and injuries immediately. If you decide to take legal action later, you'll have your injuries documented clearly from the start.
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall is another common personal injury that people seek legal help for. A slip and fall can happen when you have an accident on someone else's property caused by their carelessness (negligence).
For example, let's say you are shopping at your local grocery store in Austin. The grocery store has a duty to keep the store safe for its customers, but they just mopped the floor and forgot to put up the "Caution: wet floor" sign.
You walk between the aisles and slip, falling badly on your elbow as you crash into the aisle. In addition to your injuries, you could additionally need physiotherapy, medical exams, and pain medication. You might also lose wages as a result of time off work.
Contacting a specialized personal injury lawyer is vital if you need to take your case to personal injury court and prove that the injury was not your fault.
It's important to keep in mind that the payouts of many medical malpractice lawsuits are high because they can involve wrongful death. But wrongful death isn't the only outcome of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice can also include injuries caused by prescription drugs. These include injuries due to a mislabeled medication, being prescribed the wrong drug dose, or being prescribed the wrong drug altogether.
Medical malpractice can also include harm caused by faulty medical products such as pacemakers. It could also be a misdiagnosis that harms the patient and prevents them from getting the required treatment.
Not all medical errors qualify as medical malpractice, which is why it's vital to contact a professional to assess the merits of your case.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
The best types of lawyers for personal injury have extensive experience in this area and are objective. Experience can make all the difference in determining whether you get a payout or not.
Focusing on personal injury allows lawyers to become the best in their field. Additionally, the American Bar Association offers a specialized certification for personal injury lawyers. Lawyers must complete this certification to be considered personal injury specialists.
Personal injury lawyers can also protect you from being victimized by insurance companies, which might try to take advantage of you. An experienced personal injury lawyer can also help you make better decisions concerning your case. This includes advising you on whether it's necessary to take your case to court.
Since an experienced personal injury lawyer has seen many different types of cases, they will be familiar with the protocol. This could mean faster compensation so that you can focus on getting better.
Professional help gives you peace of mind so that you don't have to second-guess every decision you make.
Don't Wait. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Personal injury can be complicated because it can constitute a variety of injuries. These cases are also subject to different payouts depending on the type of injury and the specifics of each case.
It's difficult enough to navigate the law as it is. When you're injured, it's added stress to try and figure out the merits of your case on your own.
A personal injury lawyer can help you evaluate your case and answer any questions you may have.
If you've been injured, the sooner you act, the better. If you're in the Austin area, contact us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer today.