A Powell Personal Injury Attorney Explains the Ins and Outs of Injury Claims
Wyoming law provides an injured party with a legal recourse to hold a negligent party financially responsible for the personal injuries they caused. A Powell personal injury attorney at Ragain & Clark can help injured parties with their personal injury claims to help them recover the compensation they deserve for the injuries they sustained by a negligent party. Our firm offers a free initial consultation for clients so you can get the information you need to make informed decisions about your potential personal injury lawsuit.
What Damages Can I Recover After an Injury in Wyoming?
After sustaining an injury in an accident, a Powell personal injury lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve for the damages you sustained to make you whole again. In a personal injury case, there are different types of compensation you can pursue against a negligent party for your claim such as compensatory damages and non-monetary damages.
Examples of compensatory damages include:
Repair or replacement of damaged property
Cost of living with a disability.
Examples of non-monetary losses in Wyoming include:
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
Loss of consortium.
How Will Fault Affect My Compensation in Wyoming?
Most personal injury cases involve one person (the plaintiff) claiming that they were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence (the defendant). Originally, the doctrine of contributory negligence held that a plaintiff would be prohibited from recovering any compensation if their own negligence contributed to the accident in any way. For example:
- A plaintiff sues a defendant for injuries that resulted from a car accident when the defendant ran a stop sign. However, the defendant claims that the plaintiff was driving while distracted and could have otherwise avoided the accident.
- A plaintiff sues a restaurant when they are injured in a slip and fall accident on the premises. The defendant bar owner claims that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time that they fell.
- A worker sues an independent contractor when they are injured on a construction site due to the contractor’s negligence. The contractor claims that the plaintiff was not wearing a hard hat, which would have prevented the injury.
The plaintiffs’ negligence in the cases above, no matter how small, would prohibit them from receiving any compensation under the traditional contributory negligence rule.
Because the outcomes under the traditional contributory negligence rule were so unfair, many states, including Wyoming, have adopted a comparative negligence rule. Under the comparative negligence rule, a plaintiff is barred from receiving compensation if their negligence contributed more than 50% to causing the accident. If their negligence contributed to less than 50%, then the awarded compensation is reduced accordingly. For example, if the plaintiff’s negligence accounts for 30% of the accident, the damages award would be reduced by 30%.
How a Powell Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Contributory negligence is a common defense raised by people when they want to avoid liability for their own negligence. Unfortunately, the defense can be difficult for non-lawyers to overcome. A Powell personal injury attorney can help you overcome this defense in three ways:
- The defendant must prove that you were negligent. Your lawyer can analyze their evidence, identify its weaknesses, and offer your own evidence that refutes the defense.
- The defendant must prove that your negligence contributed to the accident in some way. An experienced Powell personal injury attorney will be able to argue that, even if you were negligent, it did not contribute to causing the accident.
- If you were negligent, your lawyer will use evidence to make sure that your negligence is not overvalued in determining the amount of your compensation.
Powell Personal Injury Lawyer Explains Settlement vs. Trial
Settlements are common in personal injury cases as they allow both parties an opportunity to reduce the inherent risk involved when going to trial and leaving the decision for a case to a jury (or in some situations a judge). The state of Wyoming takes fault into account when determining whether a plaintiff’s claim will prevail, and how much compensation may be awarded. Negotiating a fair settlement can be complicated so you may want to speak with a Powell personal injury lawyer who can aggressively advocate for you during settlement negotiations to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
If the involved parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, our Basin personal injury attorneys are prepared to go to trial to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve after an injury. While we often encourage settlements as a faster option to get you the funds you need, we won’t back down from an unfair settlement and can, and often do, take personal injury lawsuits to court in Wyoming.
Common Types of Injuries That Accident Victims Face
Thousands of people die each year from motor vehicle traffic deaths, and millions are injured from unintentional injuries. Some of the more common types of incidents our Powell personal injury lawyer team can help with include:
- accidents involving cars, trucks, and motorcycles
- slip and falls
- premises liability
- medical malpractice and negligence
- animal bites
- sexual assault
- product liability
These incidents (sometimes unintentional, sometimes intentional) can cause a wide variety of different injuries such as:
Spinal cord injuries
Sprains and strains
Soft tissue tears
Frequently Asked Questions Answered by a Powell Personal Injury Attorney
How do I know if I have a claim?
Generally speaking, most personal injury claims are based on negligence. Negligence occurs when one person fails to take sufficient care to avoid causing injury to others. Sufficient care, also referred to as the standard or duty of care, is measured according to what a reasonably prudent person would do in the same or similar circumstances. If you have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness, a Powell personal injury attorney can review your case and determine whether you have a claim.
How long will my case take?
Some cases settle in a matter of weeks, while others may take months or even over a year. It will depend on the complexity of your case, the severity of your injuries, whether there are any complicated legal issues, and whether the core facts are in dispute.
Is there a deadline for pursuing a personal injury claim?
The deadline to pursue a claim is referred to as the “statute of limitations,” a phrase you may have heard. Under Wyoming law, you have four years from the date of your injury to pursue a personal injury claim. If you have a medical malpractice claim or a claim against the state of Wyoming, you have only two years.
However, if you’ve been seriously injured, we recommend that you speak with a Powell personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait to pursue a claim, the harder it may be to prove your case.
What types of evidence will I need to prove my case, and will my Powell personal injury attorney help me gather it?
The kind of evidence you need will, of course, depend on the specifics of your case. However, generally speaking, you may need to collect the following information to prove your claim:
- Witness statements
- Accident reports
- Photographs of the scene of the accident and your injuries
- Video camera footage
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- Proof of lost income
Gathering the evidence you need to build a strong claim can be challenging, especially if you are suffering from serious injuries. A Powell personal injury attorney can help you collect the documentation you will need.
What is fair compensation for my pain and suffering?
Pain and suffering are often referred to as “non-economic” damages because they are subjective - you cannot submit a bill or other documentation that shows how much you have suffered. And because they are subjective, there is no formula that is used to determine what would be fair compensation. Instead, the court will look to certain factors such as the following:
- The severity of your injuries, including whether there is any disfigurement
- Whether your injuries will result in a permanent impairment
- The amount of economic damages you have suffered (for example, if your economic losses are relatively moderate, you will likely receive less compensation for pain and suffering)
- The impact your injuries have on your day-to-day living
A “multiplier method” will be used in some cases where a factor between 1 and 5 will be used depending on the severity of your injuries. That factor will then be used to multiply your economic losses and determine what compensation would be fair for your pain and suffering. A Powell personal injury attorney will be able to provide an estimate of what you may be entitled to seek for your pain and suffering.
Contact a Powell Personal Injury Attorney Today
At Ragain & Clark, PC, our attorneys have been handling car accident cases for over 40 years. We are aggressive and battle-tested. Have you suffered a personal injury because of a negligent party in Powell, Wyoming? If so, call 307-388-6400 or send us a message online to schedule an initial consultation with a Powell personal injury attorney. Our legal team is experienced in Wyoming personal injury law, and can help advocate for your rights. We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. One of our offices is conveniently located in Worland.