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The Hidden Costs of Delaying a Personal Injury Claim

October 6, 2023

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You probably expect to receive compensation if you’ve filed a personal injury claim. And if you have a great case, you’ll undoubtedly get it. However, remember that the insurance claims process is not always so straightforward. Proving your case by establishing negligence on the accused’s part is crucial. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You must also provide proof of damages to recover a fair amount for your loss. That’s why you should seek the counsel of personal injury attorneys if you think you have been injured by the actions or inaction of another person.

Read further to learn the common types of personal injuries, types of damages, and how to prove fault in a personal injury case.

Common Types of Personal Injuries

Car accidents

Car accidents can cause serious injuries such as brain trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and internal bleeding. Besides the devastating physical aftermath of many car accidents, injured victims often deal with overwhelming emotional, mental, and financial hardship.

Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected of a reasonably competent professional in the same field, resulting in harm to a patient. Examples of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, birth injuries, and anesthesia errors.

Product liability

Product liability refers to the legal responsibility of manufacturers, distributors, and sellers for defective or dangerous products that cause harm to consumers. Examples of product liability claims include defective drugs, medical devices, automobiles, toys, appliances, and food products.

Premises liability

Premises liability refers to the legal duty of property owners and occupiers to keep their premises safe for visitors and guests. Examples of premises liability claims include slip and fall accidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, elevator accidents, and inadequate security.

An injured victim may have a valid compensation claim if their injury resulted from someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing in Ohio. However, personal injury law can be complex and challenging to navigate on your own. If they need to consult with personal injury attorneys, victims should find a law firm with experience to evaluate their cases and ensure their rights are protected.

Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

Nominal damages

The court may award nominal damages (small sum of money) for unintentional harm, such as assault and battery. However, nominal damages are not available in negligence claims. Courts mainly award these damages if you can prove a violation of your rights but no actual damage or injury to your person or property.

Compensatory damages

Compensatory damages are intended to make the injured person whole again or to get them as close as possible to their life situation before the injury. These damages could include monetary and non-monetary losses (intangible and emotional harm).

Punitive damages

Courts award these damages to punish the person or organization that caused the harm and to deter them and others from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the injured person but to serve as a public example of justice.

Proving Fault & Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits

To prove fault in a personal injury lawsuit in Ohio, you must first demonstrate that the person who caused the injury was negligent and that their negligence led to your injury.

Four elements of negligence must be established:

  1. Duty of care: You must show that the defendant owed you a legal obligation to act in a certain way.
  2. Breach of duty: You must show that the defendant failed to meet their duty of care by acting or failing to act in a way that a reasonable person would not.
  3. Causation: You must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was your injury's actual and proximate cause. Actual cause means that your injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s breach. Proximate cause means that your injury was a foreseeable and natural consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty.
  4. Damages: You must show that you suffered actual losses or harm due to your injury. These losses can include economic damages (such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage) and non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life).

To prove these elements, you may need to present various types of evidence, such as:

  • Police or accident reports.
  • Witness statements.
  • Photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries.
  • Expert testimony from doctors, engineers, economists, etc.

You should also understand the concept known as comparative negligence, a rule that bars or reduces the compensation you’ll receive if you were partly at fault for the accident and the damage caps on your claim. Situations involving shared liability require the assistance of professional personal injury lawyers, such as Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Injury Lawyers, to help you navigate your case.

The Costs of Delaying a Personal Injury Claim

Delaying your claim can hurt your chances of getting compensation in the following ways:

Statute of Limitations

The Ohio Revised Code section 2305.10 sets the time limit for filing a claim. A product liability claim or an action for bodily injury or injury of personal property must be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues. The cause of action accrues when the injury or loss to a person or property occurs or when you discover or should have discovered the injury or its cause, whichever date occurs first.

Lost Evidence

Evidence such as witness accounts, photos, and medical and police records deteriorate over time. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get crucial evidence to support your claim.

Memory Loss

Likewise, the longer you wait, the blurrier the details leading to your injury will become in your memory and those of witnesses. With time, memories fade, making it hard to piece together what happened. An accurate and timely account is vital to building a strong case.

Medical Concerns

The longer you wait to file your claim, the harder it becomes to link your injuries to the accident. Also, medical receipts related to the injury are admissible as evidence in court.

How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You

Experienced Cleveland personal injury attorneys can help you by:

  • Offering legal guidance.
  • Building a strong case.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies.
  • Representing you in court.

Contact Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Today

In the aftermath of a personal injury, time is of the essence. The hidden costs of delaying a personal injury claim are significant and will impact your ability to receive fair compensation. By acting promptly and seeking legal assistance, you can safeguard your rights and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

If you've suffered a personal injury, don't wait. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.

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