Q: What is negligence?
A: Someone is negligent when they have a duty to act a certain way, their conduct falls below that duty, and someone is injured because of it. For example, when someone is driving a car, the driver has a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws. If the driver is texting instead of paying attention to other traffic (whether or not texting is against the law) and crashes into you, that driver may have breached his or her duty of care and may be legally responsible for your injuries.
Q: What is a tort?
A: Lawyers and legal professionals sometimes use the word "tort” in reference to a situation where someone’s behavior wrongfully caused someone else injury or harm. Torts are not necessarily about illegal conduct. If you are injured by someone else’s carelessness, even if they did not break any laws, they may be responsible for your injuries and other losses. Negligence is a type of tort.
Q: Are there other types of personal injury lawsuits?
A: When someone acts wrongfully and you are injured, you may have a right to recover damages from that person. Personal injury cases can include battery, trespass, defamation, invasion of privacy, defective product designs or manufacturing, negligence and many other types of lawsuits.
Q: What kinds of damages can I recover?
A: The word "damages” usually refers to money necessary to compensate you for your losses. Money may not make everything better, but it’s the best remedy the law provides. Damages can include medical expenses, lost physical abilities, amputations or visible scarring, future medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages, diminished capacity to work, loss of consortium and more. You may be entitled to damages you are not even aware of, which is why it is important to talk to a licensed personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Completing the form on this website only takes a few seconds and will put you in contact with local attorneys who can discuss your situation.
Q: What if I partially caused the accident that led to my injuries?
A: Some states follow a "contributory negligence” theory which means that your claim may be barred if you contributed to your injury. Other states follow a "comparative negligence” theory where your claim may be reduced by your percentage of contributions to your injury. Under either standard, it is important to talk to an attorney to understand your state’s rules and how your particular situation may be affected.
Q: How do contingency fees work?
A: When a lawyer charges a contingency fee, the lawyer’s fee is a percentage of your recovery. In other words, if your lawyer doesn’t recover damages for you, you will not owe the lawyer for his or her time invested in the case. Costs of a lawsuit (the out-of-pocket expenses paid by the lawyer, such as filing fees, witness fees and the like), may be your obligation (although some attorneys may cover costs for you or write them off at the end of a case). When you hire an attorney, make sure you understand the fee and cost arrangement. Your attorney should give you a written fee agreement, but if you do not get one, feel free to ask for it.