If you've typed "what is personal injury" into Google, chances are, you or a loved one has suffered an injury you believe someone else caused. If that's the case, you may very well have a personal injury claim that can be resolved in court or by way of a settlement.
First, you should understand what constitutes a personal injury case in New Hampshire and determine what course of action to take if you believe you have one. This article outlines the facts to help you understand the basics of personal injury law.
How does New Hampshire law define personal injury?
Just because you get hurt, that does not mean you have a personal injury case. A personal injury case arises when you are injured because someone else either did something he is not supposed to do or failed to do something he is supposed to do.
For example, we all have a responsibility to keep a proper lookout when driving a car. If someone fails to keep a proper lookout because he is looking for something on the floor of his car and injures someone, that is a personal injury case. A personal injury lawyer can tell you whether what the person did to injure you was something he was or was not supposed to be doing.
Contrary to portrayals in popular media, personal injury cases are frequently complex, and winning a court decision without identifying the negligence is impossible.
Some examples of genuine personal injury situations include, but are not limited to:
- Auto, motorcycle, or bicycle collisions
- Product liability claims
- Brain injury or trauma resulting from the negligence of another
- Dog and other domestic animal bites (New Hampshire law actually covers any cause of injury by a dog, applying not only to damage done to humans but also any form of property)
In all cases, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff and the plaintiff's attorney to provide reasonable proof that the defendant is responsible for the injury.
What are the possible outcomes of a personal injury case?
There are a range of potential outcomes, but all these outcomes fall under the umbrella of the following three possibilities:
- Civil lawsuit. In this instance, an attorney will help you file a civil case as a plaintiff against the party that may have caused your injury. The case will be presented in court and will hinge on whether proof of malicious intent or negligence is provided.
- Mediation and Settlement. If one or both parties do not wish to pursue a court case, a settlement may be negotiated. In this instance, both parties will sign an agreement not to pursue an active lawsuit, and a sum of money will be paid from the defendant to the plaintiff to resolve the matter.
- Arbitration. This allows both the plaintiff and the defendant to make their cases to a neutral third party, who then rules on the matter in favor of one party or the other.
How do you determine the merits of a personal injury case?
Contact an attorney as early as possible, both for convenience and to ensure you do not allow New Hampshire's statute of limitations to pass before taking action. If you have suffered a personal injury, you will need considerable help navigating the process, and a responsible law firm will be able to handle medical records, insurance companies, and generally simplify and streamline a very complex process.
If you have questions or believe you have a personal injury case, do not hesitate to contact Upton & Hatfield. If we accept your case, we will be dogged advocates for you every step of the way.