Personal Injury Lawsuits: The Basics

Personal Injury Lawsuits

Personal injury law enables a person to go to civil court and receive compensation (or be “made whole”) after suffering injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Personal injury lawsuits are the legal claims that can recover financial compensation for your injury-related expenses. This post covers some of the basics with personal injury lawsuits.

When you have questions, our knowledgeable staff is available at (877) 284-6600.

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

Legal definition of personal injury: an injury to one’s body, mind, or emotions; it is an injury that is not to one’s property.

Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers an injury in which someone else may be legally responsible.

Typically, personal injury lawsuits are the result of the negligence, or carelessness, of another person.

Common personal injury accidents include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Auto accidents, involving a motor vehicle such as a car or motorcycle
  • Trucking accidents involving large commercial trucks such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers
  • Consumer product liability claims, which include defective and recalled products and medications
  • Slip & fall injuries and other premises liability situations

Personal injury law focuses on the injuries caused to a person, not damages to property.

What is negligence?

Negligence occurs when one person or entity fails to meet a legal duty of care thus causing your injuries. In a personal injury case, the injured party would be the plaintiff and the negligent party would be the defendant.

When bringing a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove:

  • The defendant(s) had a duty of care toward the plaintiff.
  • The defendant(s) breached or failed to meet that duty.
  • The defendant(s) breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries, and
  • You, the plaintiff, suffered damages as a result of this breach.

Does a personal injury claim always result in going to court?

No, not necessarily.

A formal personal injury case starts when an individual (the plaintiff) files a complaint against another person or entity (i.e., the defendant) claiming they acted carelessly or irresponsibly, which then resulted in injury to you.

A plaintiff may decide to settle out of court. The settlement process involves a negotiation among those involved. The result, a written agreement resolving the case through payment of an agreeable amount of money in exchange for a binding promise not to file a lawsuit.

When a plaintiff agrees to a settlement, the case ends. If no agreement is reached, the case will go to court for resolution. However, a settlement can be reached any time before a case is given to the jury.

What if the accident involves the death of someone?

Negligence can result in numerous types of injuries, ranging from very minor cuts and bruises to major injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, amputated limbs, burns, mental or emotional trauma and much more.

It can also involve the wrongful death of another. If the accident involves the death of another, we will help you pursue a wrongful death settlement to help you and your family regain the greatest possible quality of life.

personal injury lawsuits legal claims financial compensation injury related expenses negligenceWho can be held responsible for a personal injury accident?

It can sometimes be difficult determining who is responsible for an accident. Sometimes, there may be other parties who have some level of responsibility of which you are not aware. The best course of action is to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you identify all parties responsible for your injuries.

Should I consult with a personal injury attorney?

Yes. Consulting with an attorney helps you and him gain a comprehensive understanding of your claim, so it is in your best interest.

In addition, most attorneys will not charge for an initial consultation. They charge for their services on a contingency fee basis, which simply means that there is no legal fee unless there is a monetary recovery on your behalf.

What should I bring to a consultation?

Of course, this will depend on the type of accident, but bring as much information as you possibly can, such as:

  • Police report
  • Driver’s license
  • Health and/or vehicle insurance cards
  • All correspondence received from anyone involved in the incident
  • Medical bills received for treatment needed as a result of the incident
  • Photographs of the incident
  • Name and address of all medical service providers involved in the accident (this might include ambulance services, emergency room services, doctors, etc.)
  • Names and addresses of those involved in the incident as well as witnesses to it
  • Contact information for insurance companies or insurance adjusters
  • Pay stubs if the incident caused you to miss work

How long will it take to resolve my personal injury case?

Every case is different. Your attorney should be able to give you a general estimate based on how long other similar cases have taken.



If you are ready to speak with an attorney, contact the experienced Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Nash & Franciskato at (877) 284-6600. One of our experienced staff will speak with you personally and will provide you with a free, no-obligation review of your case.



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Past results afford no guarantee of future results and each case is different and is judged on its own merits. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published December 28, 2016. It was reviewed on October 31, 2023 and updated for content and accuracy.

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