How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?

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It’s not uncommon for someone to seek justice when they have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. Personal injury cases are a way for people to receive compensation for their injuries and there are thousands of personal injury claims each year. Prior to filing a personal injury claim, it is important to understand whether the accident you were involved in will actually be considered a personal injury accident. Filing a personal injury claim may be an overwhelming situation but hiring an attorney that can assist you with personal injury claims can help make the legal process less stressful. If you have been injured in an accident but aren’t sure if you have a personal injury claim, the following information will help you understand what constitutes a personal injury claim.

Common Personal Injury Cases

There are several types of personal injury cases, so depending on the type of accident you have fallen victim to, your injuries may qualify as a personal injury case. Automobile accidents are the most common type of personal injury cases; however, other examples may include:

  • Product liability
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Trucking accidents
  • Premise liability
  • Boating injury
  • Dangerous medical devices and/or drugs
  • Workplace injury

Basic Requirements for a Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury claims arise from injuries that have been caused by another person’s careless behavior or recklessness. In legal terms, the reckless behavior that resulted in injury is known as negligence. There are three basic requirements that must be met before you can file a personal injury claim:

  • Carelessness was exhibited by the negligent party. An example of negligence in an automobile accident may be if a vehicle crashed into a pedestrian crossing the street in the crosswalk and with a walk sign. Another example may be a driver crashing into a pedestrian because they ran a red light. This type of carelessness is considered negligent under the law.
  • Personal injury was directly caused by the negligent party’s behavior. An example of negligent behavior may include situations such as a driver colliding with another vehicle because they were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, causing the innocent party to sustain injuries such as broken bones, spinal damages, brain injuries, or death. The negligence of the driver would be considered to be the cause of the victim’s personal injuries. 
  • The injuries that the victim suffered resulted in harm. An example of this may be the pedestrian that was hit by the automobile suffered broken bones and a spinal injury that caused them to lose their income, pain, and suffering, and medical bills. This means these injuries have been determined to be the cause of compensatory damages, which means the injured party can be recompensed for their injuries.

The injuries alone don’t qualify as a personal injury claim. You must also prove that the injuries have caused loss, harm, and suffering. Compensation is awarded to cover the losses that were caused by negligent actions of the other party. A personal injury claim addresses losses that may include income loss, property loss, medical bills, pain and distress, mental suffering, and/or the inability to resume a normal life. 

Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?

There are a variety of important factors that must be in place in order to determine whether or not your accident is eligible for a personal injury claim. The most important factor being that your injuries were caused by the negligent actions or behaviors of the other party involved in the accident. Also, you sustained physical/mental injuries that resulted in some type of damages, such as medical bills or loss of income and these damages must be the direct result of the injuries sustained. Whether or not you have a personal injury claim depends not only on the type of injuries sustained but what caused the injury. For example, if you sustained injuries in an automobile accident resulting from the negligence of an intoxicated driver. Although injuries such as those resulting from an automobile accident are fairly clear cut, some injuries aren’t quite as obvious, such as injuries sustained from a medical malpractice suit.

What to Know Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim

If it is determined that you do have cause to file a personal injury claim, there are some details to be aware of before you file your claim. One of the first things you need to know is that personal injury lawsuits were made to protect you. After suffering an injury, you will be faced with financial responsibilities as well as pain and suffering, but personal injury lawsuits were created to help protect the rights and financial hardships that you may face. It’s also important to know:

  • You should call sooner rather than later. The sooner you contact a personal injury attorney following the accident, the easier it will be to navigate the complicated legal process, including communications with the insurance providers. 
  • Injured victims with legal representation generally recover more punitive damages. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to appropriately value your claim and understands what is required to negotiate a successful settlement. 
  • You shouldn’t sign anything without first consulting an attorney. Insurance adjusters have one goal in mind, which is to persuade you to settle for the least amount of compensation. Insurance providers would rather work with you directly in the hopes of settling for less than what your case is actually worth. For this reason, you should not sign or agree to anything without first talking to your attorney.
  • There is a statute of limitations in personal injury cases. Each state has a statute of limitations, which means there is a limited amount of time in which you can file a personal injury claim against the negligent party.
  • The facts must be thoroughly analyzed. The severity of your injuries is important; however, the events leading up to the accident are equally important. This means it is important to have as much evidence as possible that your injuries were the result of the negligence of another party. Your attorney will assist you in gathering evidence, but it’s also important to provide any evidence you may have, such as photos that were taken immediately following the accident.

The most important factor of any accident is your health, so before doing anything be sure to seek the medical attention you need, and then, when you are ready you can begin to think about pursuing a personal injury claim. Keep in mind that all personal injury cases are different and it’s best to consult with an attorney about your individual situation to determine if you have a claim for a personal injury case.

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