Quad Cities Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal Injury Law
Personal Injury Law encompasses a wide variety of situations in which a person is physically, emotionally and/or financially harmed by the wrongdoing of another. A wrongful death is also be considered a personal injury case. Some other common personal injury cases arise in the context of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, boating accidents, aviation accidents, railroad accidents, construction site accidents, product liability (dangerous or defective products), environmental pollutants (e.g. lead exposure, asbestos exposure), medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and others. Damage to property might also fall under the heading of personal injury law.
Closely related to personal injury law is worker’s compensation law which involves death or injury while on the job. However, with worker’s compensation you do not have to prove that someone else was negligent in causing the harm. You simply need prove that you were injured while you were on the job.
Because there are so many nuances to personal injury law it is easy for a lay person to get confused and have no idea where to turn. That is why it is important to have an experienced Quad Cities Personal Injury Lawyer representing you if you or someone you know has suffered serious personal injuries or a wrongful death. As with other professions, you must be sure to hire the right attorney for your case. If you needed brain surgery you wouldn’t have a family practitioner operate on you. You would want a physician that was educated and experienced in that area of medicine. By the same token, if you have suffered a serious personal injury you wouldn’t want a family lawyer or general practitioner handling your case. You would want a Quad Cities Personal Injury Lawyer who is experienced and educated in that area of law. VanDerGinst Law has the experience and education necessary to handle any type of personal injury matter.
Often, when people think of personal injury law they think of negligence. Indeed, negligence can be the basis of a personal injury claim. However, it is just one way in which an actionable personal injury can occur. Personal injuries can also occur as the result of someone’s intentional actions. Personal injuries can also result from actions or inactions that are not intentional and are not negligent. This is referred to as “strict liability”. This is a concept which often occurs in the context of product liability. It imposes liability without finding fault in situations that the law considers to be inherently dangerous.
Negligence is a legal term of art that is sometimes synonymously exchanged for terms like “carelessness” or “recklessness”. In order to prove negligence three elements must exist. First, there must be a legal duty between the injured party and the person who injures them. This may be something as simple a driver’s duty to other drivers to exercise reasonable care while on the road. Next, there must be a breach of that duty. For instance a driver breaches his duty to other drivers if he/she speeds through a red light and hits another vehicle. Lastly, that breach of duty must cause damages. In the example of the driver who blows the red light and hits another vehicle the damages could include the property damage to the other vehicle and any injuries that the other driver sustained. If all three elements exist then negligence exists and there is a viable injury claim to pursue.
Intentional actions are ones that are designed to cause harm or injury. For instance, an assault and battery may be an intentional act designed to hard you. That can result in the wrongdoer being liable for any damages caused. It may also result in criminal prosecution.
Strict liability occurs when liability attaches to an injury regardless of whether negligence or an intentional action has occurred. It usually arises in the context of situations which are, in and of themselves, inherently dangerous. For instance, someone using dynamite to blast a rock shelf may use every reasonable precaution, thereby avoiding any negligence claim, and would certainly not intentional harm someone. But, if a person was injured as a result of the blast the person doing the blasting might be held strictly liable for the injuries that result. In the context of products, manufacturers are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that their products are safe when used as directed. If someone is injured using that product in the manner it was intended the injured party need not prove negligence or intent if they can simply show the product was defective through no fault of their own and that an injury occurred.
If liability is proven via negligence, intentional action or strict liability then the next step is to prove the amount of damages that should be awarded. Damages generally fall into two categories: compensatory and punitive.
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate the victim of the injury. They may include economic damages like medical bills, lost wages and out of pocket expenses. They may also include non economic damages like pain and suffering. Depending on the situation compensatory damages can include many other items designed to compensate families of the victims, relative disability of the victim, and future expenses or losses.
Punitive damages are not designed to compensate the victim. They are designed to punish the wrongdoer. Sometimes punitive damage awards go to the victim. Sometimes they go, or a portion goes, to the state. Punitive damages are intended to send a message to the wrongdoer so that they think long and hard before ever engaging in that wrongful conduct again. It is also designed to send a chilling effect to others who are in a similar position as the wrongdoer and might have otherwise have been inclined to engage in wrongful conduct as well.
Statue of Limitations
When a personal injury occurs there is generally a statute of limitations which applies. That means there is a finite time in which the case must be filed or the injured person may lose all rights to do so. That period of time varies from state to state and depending on the nature of the personal injury action. It may also be impacted if the injured party was a minor of living under a disability of some kind. Sometimes the time period can be extended when the injury is not discovered for a length of time. For instance, in surgical situations sponges may fail to be removed from the surgical site. The negligence may not result in noticeable problems for quite some time, perhaps even after the applicable statute of limitations. In situation like that a “discovery rule” may allow the time limitations to be extended.
Contact An Experienced Quad Cities Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury or a wrongful death, please contact a Quad Cities Personal Injury Lawyer from VanDerGinst Law right away. There are things that can and should be done as soon as possible to ensure that evidence and witnesses are secured, insurance benefits are coordinated and that the claim is properly processed in order to maximize the amount of damages to which you are entitles. The initial consultation is always FREE. We will make the process as convenient as possible. We can review the circumstances of your case via email (firstname.lastname@example.org ), or the phone (toll free 866-843-7367), in one of our offices, or we can even visit you in your home or the hospital. Don’t delay. Contact VanDerGinst Law today. Our team of personal injury attorneys are licensed to practice in Illinois, Iowa and the federal courts. We have handled and can handle serious cases all over the country. No matter where you reside VanDerGinst Law can help you.