Whether it’s an automobile accident, a slip and fall injury, or a premises liability accident, one of the questions you may consider when evaluating your options is whether you have a claim.
There are several factors that go into determining whether your personal injury case is viable, including matters of legal negligence, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the evidence at hand.
The Matter of Negligence
In order for your case to qualify as a personal injury claim, there needs to have been some form of negligent activity, or breach of one’s duty of care. For instance, while on the road, motorists have a duty of care toward others that involves practicing safe driving techniques, remaining attentive, avoiding driving while intoxicated, etc. Violating these responsibilities would be considered negligent conduct.
If there is no negligence involved in the accident, or if it can’t be linked directly to your injury, then you don’t have a case. On the other hand, if it can be demonstrated that someone did cause your injury through negligent action, then you’ll likely be able to sue for damages.
The key phrase, of course, is “if it can be demonstrated.” You need to have sufficient evidence to prove that the other party was responsible for your injury. Eyewitness accounts, evidence from the scene of the accident, medical bills, doctors’ reports, expert testimonies, and more can all help your case. The more evidence, the better.
Conversely, in cases where evidence is scarce, it will be much more difficult to prove personal injury. This can make your case less viable since there’s less pressure on the defendant to pay damages. It could lower your settlement amount and make winning in court (should it come to that) less likely. Hence, you need sufficient evidence.
Another qualification for a personal injury claim is recoverable damages. This includes any expenses that the accident caused you, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Disability-related expenses
- Physical pain and mental anguish resulting from the injury
- Decreased quality of life
Some of these are more easily calculated than others, but the key is they should be sufficient to warrant a lawsuit. Otherwise, it may be something that would be handled purely by insurance or through small claims court.
This leads into the final matter to consider, which is cost-effectiveness. While the above qualifications may apply to your situation, your claim may not be cost effective if it doesn’t seem like it will yield enough of a reward to be worth the fees, time, and expenses involved in pursuing it.
On the other hand, if damages caused by your accident were significant, then you may have a case. The process of determining whether your claim is viable begins with a consultation with a personal injury attorney. These consultations are typically free, and the purpose is to evaluate your case and decide on the best course of action.
If you’ve been injured and wonder whether you might have a case, contact the attorneys at Hart David Carson LLP today for a free consultation.