A personal injury claim is a formal process that allows an injured person to file a claim against the person or organization that caused their injury and recover compensation. It can seem difficult to avoid injuries as they can occur in a number of everyday situations. Some of the most common types of personal injury are the following:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical errors
- Defective products
If you have suffered an injury that was caused through the fault of another party you might be entitled to compensation. However, the process may not be as clear as you think, and there are some key points you should understand first in order to build a solid case. In this article, we will outline the main issues to keep in mind when preparing a personal injury claim.
Get Legal Advice
To ensure you have grounds for a claim, consult with an experienced personal injury law firm which can guide you through your situation. Many attorneys in this field such as Walnut Creek Personal Injury Attorneys offer free consultations where they will review the merits of your case and discuss your legal options with you. You can then make an informed decision on whether to pursue your claim or not. It is also common practice for many law firms specializing in this field to work on a ‘no win no fee’ basis, meaning you will only pay for your legal costs if you win your claim.
Having a lawyer on your side is also helpful for negotiating on your behalf and taking over communications with the other party’s insurer or legal team who are likely to apply pressure on you to accept their terms which may be much less than you are due.
What Do I Need to Prove?
The central element of all personal injury claims involves proving that the injuries you sustained were caused by the negligence of the other party (defendant). By proving negligence you will establish liability on their part. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is also invaluable in helping you prove this.
The legal definition of negligence is when a person fails to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. You must be able to establish the following when proving the defendant was negligent:
- Duty of Care: The defendant had a legal duty to act in a reasonable manner to avoid causing you injury.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to act in this way and, therefore, breached their duty of care to you.
- Causation: The injuries you suffered were a direct consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty and would not have happened otherwise.
- Damages: You must show you suffered some form of quantifiable loss as a result of your injuries entitling you to a monetary amount in the form of compensation. This could include being reimbursed for your medical costs, travel costs to and from appointments, loss of income, future medical care and rehabilitation and mental anguish.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the components of a personal injury claim you can prepare a strong case helping you to secure the compensation you are entitled to.