For most people, their home is their haven, their refuge but it can also be an environment where a personal injury is waiting to happen. Slip-and-falls, dog bites, unintentional consumption of harmful products, and more, occur in homes somewhere in the United States on a daily basis. When these unfortunate episodes do happen, what is the recourse for the injured person?
Dog Bites in the Home
Do you know a 2%’er? Maybe you are one. Certainly you know one. I am not talking about the 1%’ers that have become a political target by the OWS movement, but of those who have been bitten by a dog in the last year. Annually in the U.S., 2% of our population suffers from a mild to severe dog bite. Because dogs attack with their teeth and carry germs, not only can a skin wound occur, but disease can enter into your body, such as rabies. If a dog ever bites you, it is advised to seek medical attention right away in case they are ridden with a transferable disease. The next stop would be to a personal injury attorney to look into possibly suing the owner of the dog.
Why would a dog attack? It is not typically the fault of the one who has been bitten. Dogs are very territorial by nature, and if they do not know you, they may perceive you as an intruder. Also, if you stare at a dog they may perceive this as a threat, or if you get too close to them and look at them on their level. Unbeknownst to you, you may wander between them and their food, or encounter a rescue dog which was abused and not know that even a slight gesture will set them off in protective mode and bite you. Breaking up dog fights is another way to have their strong jaws, even for the little lap guys, to come clamping down on you, break skin, and possibly leave behind some germs that could infect you, or worse.
Home-based Product Liability Injuries
Another common home injury is the faulty product. Each year the Consumer Products Safety Commission recalls thousands and millions of faulty and dangerous consumer products, such as baby strollers and cribs, to coffee machines that can start a fire, to exploding batteries, children’s toys that can cut, or air compressors that can cause electrical shock. Food products may be contaminated, leading to illness or death. Product liability always exists out there, but you can only be so careful as you expect the product you buy to have complied with certain regulatory standards that assure you of it being safe.
There are many more scenarios that can occur, but if these, or others injure and harm you, then you may have recourse against the home owner or the manufacturer for compensation to pay for medical costs and more. So, how does this process work?
Quick Personal Injury Stats
Personal injury claims represent 90% of all tort trials in the U.S. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) personal injuries annually in the U.S. account for:
- 162,000 injury related deaths
- 1,903,000 injury related hospital discharges
- 29,529,000 injury related emergency room visits
- 31,128,000 injury related doctor visits
- 3,852,000 injury related outpatient visits
Calculating Personal Injury Legal Process and Damages
Calculating damages for personal injury claims suffered in the home are not easy, and each state has its own laws and regulations addressing this. For the matter of this piece, we will focus on South Carolina personal injury settlement process and damages.
Because no two cases are alike, there is no one clear roadmap that must be followed to insure one gets what they deserve as a result of another’s negligence. However, in spite of the fact that 90% of all tort cases in trial are related to personal injuries, most of these cases get settled out of court and never go before a judge. Insurance companies get involved immediately and will try and get you to settle on your own apart from the direction of your own attorney.
This is not wise. Their job is to get you to settle for as little money as possible without respect to your rights and actual needs, such as medical care repayment and living funds, or long-term compensation. Getting advice from a negligence and personal injury attorney is the wisest thing to do. They understand the gimmicks and tricks of the offender’s insurance companies and attorneys, and will make sure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation worthy of your injury.
Pain and suffering, loss of life or reduction in quality of life, emotional suffering, inability to work, medical bills, lost wages, and other factors enter into account when determining what kind of compensation you may receive as a result of a personal injury.
Your lawyer will typically work on contingency, meaning, they only get paid if your case is settled or wins in court. The percent is usually 33% of the award, plus legal fees that may include bringing in expert testimony or investigation. You recover what remains. Of course, you may negotiate this percentage with your lawyer.
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