How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury CaseLast updated on: December 31, 2020
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If you were injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
What is a Personal Injury Case?
Not all accidents or injuries entitle someone to recover damages through a personal injury case. Personal injury cases derive from a body of law called “torts.” Tort law refers to the system of state laws that proscribe remedies and penalties for civil wrongs, as opposed to criminal conduct. Tort law takes effect when the civil wrong causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm and results in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. Tortious acts are generally considered the result of negligence and/or intentional misconduct. Personal injury lawsuits are the legal remedy for these tortious acts, and personal injury lawyers attempt to get their clients compensation for any damages the accident caused. Personal injury claims can be resolved by either a formal lawsuit or an informal settlement process. If the at-fault party chooses not to settle and the personal injury suit goes to trial, the responsible party’s insurance company or the responsible party themselves may have to pay money to the injured person for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other ongoing expenses.
How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?
Knowing if you have a personal injury case and seeking the assistance of a personal injury attorney are two of the most crucial steps in receiving compensation for your injury and any associated damages.
The first step that will determine if you have a personal injury claim is whether you have been injured and/or if your property was damaged. The next thing you will need to determine is who caused the damage or injury. If another person caused or substantially contributed to your injury then you may be entitled to compensation. Lastly, you will need to prove that the injury caused by the other person resulted in you sustaining some form of harm or financial losses. The compensation awarded for these losses is called “damages.” These losses may include lost income, medical expenses, property damage, emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of normal life functioning.
The Three Factors of a Personal Injury Case
Many factors can influence the outcome of a personal injury case and determine whether your claim is worth pursuing. To evaluate these cases, our firm looks at three significant factors to determine whether or not we think that our experienced personal injury attorneys may help you receive compensation.
Liability, in the legal sense, refers to the process of establishing the “responsible” or “answerable” party under the law. Claimants can prove liability through several different theories, ranging from negligence, negligence per se, respondeat superior (employer liability), vicarious liability, strict liability, or intentional conduct.
To determine liability, we must establish how the accident happened and whether the accident resulted in damages or loss. The next step in determining a viable theory of liability is establishing who is at fault for the accident. If the accident was your fault, there is likely very little an attorney can do to achieve compensation for your injuries. However, in some limited cases, such a premises liability and product defects, although your actions may have caused the injury, another party’s conduct or inaction could also be considered grounds for imposing civil liability.
The most common theory of liability for personal injury claims is the theory of negligence. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise appropriate or reasonable care that society expects to be exercised during a particular situation. Negligence can also be characterized as a failure to take account of the potential harm that an individual might foreseeably cause to other people or another person’s property.
Another factor determining liability is whether the state follows a system of comparative fault or contributory negligence. States that follow comparative negligence/fault systems generally attribute percentages of blame onto the victim and the negligent actor; these jurisdictions allow personal injury claims to be diminished by the degree of the victim’s fault. In contrast, states that follow contributory negligence systems may completely bar a plaintiff from recovering if he or she acted negligently and contributed to the accident in any way.
The last step in determining liability is establishing what laws apply to the accident, both with respect to compensation for the victim and penalizing the conduct of the negligent party.
Damages for personal injury cases are generally monetary awards that seek to restore the plaintiff to the position he or she was in had the tortious act never occurred.
For a personal injury claim to merit legal representation, the damages should be significant enough to warrant the costs of legal representation. For minor injuries, the cost and hassle of a lawsuit may not be worth the small amount of compensation you are seeking.
Although our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will never have to pay out of pocket for legal representation, the portion awarded to the attorney after a favorable verdict must be sufficient to merit legal representation. The costs of legal representation are correlated with the amount of damages and the complexity of the case.
Another issue to consider is which types of damages are involved in the accident. These can include lost income, medical expenses, property damage, emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of enjoyment of life.
In determining the amount of damages, the jury takes into account the nature, duration, and extent of the injury as well as whether there was a pre-existing injury that was aggravated by the accident. Other factors that can affect the amount of damages involved include potential disability, disfigurement, or shortened life expectancy.
The last factor that we consider before taking a case is the potential sources of recovery.
Sources of recovery refer to the financial entities that will provide compensation for the personal injury victim. These sources can range from insurance providers, wealthy defendants, or even workers’ compensation.
An associated factor to recovery is the applicable statute of limitations. A “statute of limitations” refers to a state law that sets the maximum time period during which a party can initiate a legal proceeding. If the statute of limitations has passed for your claim or if there is not enough time for attorneys to collect evidence and file your claim before the period proscribes, then a firm may not be willing to take your case.
Another issue to consider is whether the claim is likely to be resolved through a settlement or litigation. In reality, most disputes over fault in personal injury claims are resolved through informal settlements before the claim ever reaches the court. These settlement proceedings usually involve informal negotiations between the tortfeasor, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides. They may also involve a mediator who can assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreed-upon sum. When a claim is brought to the point of litigation, recovery and compensation become riskier.
What Qualifies as a Personal Injury?
There are a variety of situations that can give rise to a valid personal injury claim. However, it is important to remember that an injury alone doesn’t automatically result in legal liability. As mentioned above, there must be some degree of negligence or culpability on the part of the tortfeasor to impose liability. Some of the most common types of personal injury claims are:
- Car accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Cycling accidents or pedestrian injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Premises defects or hazardous conditions
- Wrongful deaths
- Slip and falls
- Nursing home neglect or elder abuse
- Assault and battery
- Spousal abuse
- Faulty car manufacturing
- Defective machinery in the workplace
- Toxic children’s products
- Poisonous food products
FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE A PERSONAL INJURY CASE TODAY
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers have helped many accident victims or their surviving family members get their lives back on track after suffering injuries, financial losses, or the loss of a loved one. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation for any associated medical bills, lost income, property damage, pain and suffering, and all the other costs your accident has caused.
Our firm believes that personal injury victims should not have to worry about their ability to afford high-quality legal representation. This is why we offer 100% free consultations. Zinda Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. We are also offering free virtual consultations during the COVID-19 crisis.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.