If I am Injured, What are My Rights?

Guide to Laws about Physical and Emotional Injuries in the United States

If you are physically or even mentally injured in a significant way, you may be able to get financial compensation in various ways. In particular, if another person or company is found to be at fault for your injury, even if they did not intend for you to get hurt, you may be able to recover some money from them by suing them.

And even if nobody is found to be at fault, if your injury leaves you permanently disabled, you may be able to get money from the government through Social Security Disability.

How do I know if I have an injury case?

If a person or business is to blame for your injury, even if it was an “accident,” this is generally called a “personal injury” case. Because every situation is different, only a personal injury lawyer can tell you whether or not you have a “good case” or a decent chance of succeeding. And you may want to talk to 2 or 3 lawyers, as lawyer opinions may differ.

In general, you may have a case if your injury was due to someone’s negligence.

How much does a lawyer cost for an injury case?

Most personal injury lawyers do not charge you upfront, but instead will take a percentage (usually 1/3 or around 33%) of any money you obtain against another party. This is called working on “contingency.”

What are my rights if I’m injured in a car accident? 

If your injury is the result of a car crash, and the other driver(s) are found to be at fault, you may be able to recover money from them (or their insurance company). See our guide on Laws about Car Accidents.

What are my rights if I slip and fall in a store?

If the floor of a store is dirty or slippery and you fall and hurt yourself, you may be able to recover money from the store if you sue the company.

What are my rights if someone hits me?

If another person physically harms you, there are potentially 2 ways to take action against them. First, you can call the police and file a report against the perpetrator. The police may then arrest and criminally prosecute the person, potentially leading to jail time.

Second, you can also sue the person in civil court to get money from them.

Whether either of these actions succeed depends on how severe the harm is. Again, only a personal injury attorney can tell you whether you have a good case.

See our Guide to Victims Rights for more.

What if I’m injured at work?

Most employers are required to maintain workers compensation insurance. If you were injured on the job, you may be able to get compensation by filing a “workers comp” claim. Ask a lawyer for more info.

What if I am mentally harmed or distressed?

It is possible to get additional compensation for mental distress, if you are also physically harmed in some way.

But even if you are not physically harmed at all, you may be able to make a successful claim for emotional harm. See our Guide to Laws about Emotional Distress.

What can I do if a person or company caused my spouse or family member severe injury or death so they can’t defend themself?

You may be able to successfully sue on their behalf. If death resulted, it may be a claim for “wrongful death.” It is a similar case as “personal injury.”

For other issues related to death, see our Guide to Laws about Death and Dying.

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