What is Personal Injury?
A personal injury occurs when a person suffers some damage from the intentional or negligent action of others. Such damage can occur from car accidents, defective products, slip and fall situations, dog bites, medical malpractice, and libel and slander. When someone suffers injuries because of the intentional or negligent act of other people, they can decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
The Laws Regarding Personal Injuries
The laws regarding personal injuries are both common laws and state legislations. Personal injury laws differ across states and it is important to be aware of the peculiarities of the laws in a state before filing a case.
Generally, personal injury laws allow someone who got hurt from the intentional and negligent acts of another person to claim compensatory damages.
Do you have a Personal Injury Case?
Making a personal injury claim is not as simple as it seems. Juries have thrown many claims out the window. Therefore, it is essential you understand if your situation merits a case before investing the time and effort.
So how do you know if you have a personal injury case?
Negligence of the Responsible Party
One of the factors you need to consider is the presence or absence of negligence. In a personal injury case, you have to prove that the other party acted carelessly. Negligence occurs when a person acts in a way that is outside of ordinary prudence.
If an accident happens because the other party was over speeding, driving on the wrong lane, ignoring stop signs, that is a case of negligence. If the other party acted out of negligence, you may have a personal injury case. However, if the accident occurs due to no fault of the driver or due to your negligence, there is no personal injury case.
Courts also rely on police citations to establish negligence or carelessness.
The Injury Resulted in Physical Harm
The second factor is that the action or inaction in question resulted in a physical damage or injury. There should be a connection between the event and the injuries. For example, if someone had an accident (involving an over speeding driver) that resulted in a back injury (requiring surgery), there is a personal injury claim. Such a situation satisfies the first and second condition.
It bears repeating that there should be an actual physical harm. If your car was damaged, but there are no personal injuries, you do not have a personal injury case.
The Negligence of the Responsible Party is the Cause
Thirdly, there should be a connection between the negligent act of the responsible party and the personal injury. It cannot be an incidental connection. The negligence must have some real connection to the injury.
One of the difficulties occur in cases of pre-existing conditions. What if the person in our previous example had a case of back injury already and was only recently recovering. Can we say the accident caused the back injury? Maybe it is just an incidental cause. Your responsibility here is to prove that this is a cause and effect situation.
In this regard, some states will require you to prove that there is more than a 50% causal relationship between the event and your injuries. As stated above, it is important you understand the state laws before filing a personal injury case.
What to do if you are not sure
Sometimes you may be unsure of the right steps to take after being in an accident. A part of you may tell you to file your injury case and pursue compensation. Another part of you may fear wasting time and effort.
In these situations, you should contact a personal injury attorney to seek advice on the next steps to take after the injury
What to do if you have a case
The first thing to do is hire an attorney. The next thing to do is to seek out of court settlement. Your attorney can discuss with the other party to pay damages and prevent the case from going to trial. In the event the settlement do not work, you will need to file a case with the court as per state legislations.
Personal injury cases can be a little complicated. However, when you understand the factors that determine if you have a case, it will help you make a sound decision whether to drop the case, seek out of court settlement, or go to trial. Hiring the right attorney will help make these big decisions. If you have questions about whether or not to pursue a personal injury claim contact us today.