After an accident, victims often wonder if it's possible for them to pursue compensation for damages. However, some accident victims may be hesitant to file a lawsuit due to concerns they might not have a strong enough case, or that their injuries serious enough to warrant taking legal action. The good news is while not all accidents lend themselves to successful personal injury claims, it's not the severity of the injuries that determines whether a personal injury is actionable.
Even if you sustained only minor injuries, you may still be entitled to a substantial monetary settlement. Speaking with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer is the best way to figure out if you have a viable personal injury case. In this article, we outline what a typical personal injury claim entails.
Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim
Generally, in order to recover money in a personal injury case, you and your attorney will have to prove three things:
- You suffered injuries. In personal injury cases, the injury or injuries in question must be physical, mental, or emotional in nature, rather than just property damage. Compensation for property damage can be sought in personal injury cases, in conjunction with physical, mental, or emotional injuries. Additionally, personal injury claims are more likely to be successful if the injuries and related treatments are extensively documented—this is particularly true of emotional injuries, which can be difficult to prove.
- The defendant was negligent. Before an attorney can show that a defendant was negligent, he must first show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care.” This means the defendant was legally obligated to behave in a certain way and breached that duty by failing to do so. For example, all motorists owe other drivers and pedestrians a duty to use reasonable care while driving. If they fail to use reasonable care, they may be considered negligent and at fault for any accidents that occur as a result of their recklessness.
Another example of duty of care is landlords who are legally required to maintain the safety of their property. If they fail to do so and a tenet or lawful guest is injured, the landlord may be held liable.
- The defendant's negligence resulted in your injures. In personal injury cases, it's not enough to simply catch someone behaving negligently. To be eligible to receive compensation, you and your lawyer must show the defendant's negligent actions directly caused your injuries. For example, if you were struck and injured in an automobile accident that was caused by a texting driver, you and your attorney could use cell phone records to show that the driver was distracted—and thus, negligent—at the time of the accident.
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases can pursue both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate for objectively verifiable monetary losses, such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages caused by missing work while you recovered from your injuries
- Loss of earning potential, if your injuries forced you into lower-paying work
- Disability modifications made to a home or vehicle
Considered more difficult to calculate, non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
Do You Need Help Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim?
Were you injured in an accident that wasn't your fault? If so, you may have a viable personal injury claim and be eligible to seek a financial award to compensate for damages. Don't let the chance to pursue a legal remedy for your injuries slip through your fingers! Call Sevenish Law's Indianapolis law office at 800-278-9200 or complete our online contact form today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.
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