No one gets up in the morning and expects to get hurt in a car accident, on-the-job accident, or slip and fall incident. Unfortunately, the nature of accidents is that they’re unpredictable.
Dealing with the aftermath can throw off nearly every aspect of your life. Need to run the kids to practice? Have to pick up groceries? Got a last-minute presentation due at work? Handling the demands of daily life just got a lot more difficult.
There’s no getting around it: Personal injuries are unpleasant. With the right help on your side, however, you can get through your injury and get back to living your life.
As a New Jersey personal injury lawyer, one of the first things I do when I meet a client for the first time is walk them through some personal injury basics. Here is a brief rundown of what we cover at that initial meeting.
What Is Personal Injury?
The answer may seem a little obvious, but it’s important to understand what exactly a personal injury case is – and what it isn’t. If you have never experienced an injury, or this is your first encounter with the legal system, you may not know what to expect.
Our justice system is divided into two main parts: the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. Criminal courts handle – you guessed it – criminal cases.
The courts in criminal matters have the authority to punish people for committing crimes, whether that means imposing a fine or some other punishment.
Civil courts are different. In the civil system, courts don’t decide whether someone is guilty or innocent. Instead, they help settle disputes between two or more people (or entities, such as a business).
For example, the civil courts hear divorce cases, as well as disputes involving contracts. They also oversee cases involving torts, which are “civil wrongs.” If someone crashes their car into yours because they weren’t paying attention to the road, they have wronged you – the tort of negligence.
The civil court can’t reverse time and make it so the crash never happened, but it can force the negligent driver to pay for your injuries, the damage to your car, and other losses. This is a personal injury case.
In certain cases, the same incident may give rise to separate causes of action in both the criminal and civil systems. For instance, a murder case in the criminal court will involve the defendant’s guilt or innocence, but the victim’s family may also pursue a wrongful death action for money damages in the civil court.
A famous example is the O.J. Simpson case, in which Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife and her companion, but was later found liable to the victims’ families for wrongfully causing the deaths.
Simpson was found not guilty of the murders in criminal court, where the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In the civil system, however, the burden of proof is much lower – “by a preponderance of the evidence.”
What Compensation Can I Expect?
No lawyer can predict the future, as many factors influence how your personal injury case will unfold. However, an experienced New Jersey lawyer can examine the details and facts of your case and give you a general idea of what types of damages you are likely to receive.
These damages may include:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of services
If the accident resulted in a wrongful death, the victim’s family members may also be eligible to receive compensation in a wrongful death case.
Call Our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else negligence contact us at the law offices of Schibell Law, LLC . Our team of personal injury lawyers will fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.