Personal injury law offers legal protections for individuals harmed by the negligence or recklessness of a third party. Although some cases coincide with criminal violations, the civil side of injury law operates in a different yet equally important area that most people aren’t familiar with.
Car accidents, workers’ compensation disputes, dog bites, and slip-and-fall situations all fall under injury law. Victims of these situations have a legal right to file a claim against the party who caused them harm, seeking monetary compensation to offset the financial burden they sustained.
If you have limited knowledge of injury law, we’re here to get you up to speed. Continue reading for a breakdown of the rights that protect you.
Injury Law Explained
To qualify for a personal injury claim, a person or group of people must suffer a physical, financial, or emotional injury as a result of an action taken by a negligent or otherwise reckless third party. Here are a few of the most common types of personal injury claims:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Slip and falls
- Animal bites
- Injuries on someone else’s property
- Equipment failures resulting in injury
The fallout of an accident doesn’t end with the injury itself. Between medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional trauma, most victims have an uphill battle to recover, but that’s exactly why personal injury lawyers exist.
Who’s at Fault?
Although it might seem straightforward, determining fault is a complicated process. Each state has different laws concerning what does and doesn’t constitute as fault, which is why having an attorney’s assistance throughout the process is so powerful.
How to Know if You Have a Case
You must prove four legal burdens before you’re able to reach a successful outcome. Here’s a breakdown of each.
Duty of Care
First, you must prove the defendant had a duty of care. It may sound complicated at first, but this means that the at-fault party had a reason to act responsibly or provide a safe environment for others.
For example, the owner of a grocery store has a duty of care to ensure the safety of their premises for anyone traversing the area. If a hazard, like a liquid spill, arises and they don’t respond within a reasonable amount of time, they’re liable for any damage caused by their failure to remedy the issue.
All motorists are bound by a duty of care when operating a vehicle on the road. If they act carelessly or recklessly, they’re liable for the damage their actions cause to an innocent third party.
Breached Duty of Care
Next, victims must prove that the defendant’s actions breached their duty of care. If it’s a situation of premises liability, the plaintiff must prove the defendant failed to remedy the hazard within a “reasonable amount of time,” which differs on a case-by-case basis.
Once you’ve established that the defendant had a duty of care and breached it, you’ll provide evidence to support that you suffered an injury. You can use medical records, photos/videos of the event, or eyewitness testimony to support your argument.
Damage Directly Resulted From the Breach
Finally, you’ll need to establish your injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s negligent actions. Strong evidence is necessary during this stage, so make sure you and your personal injury lawyer leave no stone unturned as you prepare.
How Much Can I Recover?
Your specific recovery will depend on the jurisdiction your accident occurred, the fine details of your case, and the expertise of your attorney. Generally, victims seek to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Loss of opportunity/enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages, if applicable
Seeking to recover these damages is one thing; Reaching a dollar figure that accurately compensates you for the entirety of the damage you sustained, however, is much more difficult.
Civil attorneys understand the ins and outs of injury law. Their involvement gives you a competitive edge during negotiations and, most importantly, protects you against lowball offers and outright denials.
Guarantee the Best Possible Chance of a Successful Outcome
Injury law is complicated for someone without experience. If you’ve been injured by the negligence of a third party, it’s best to team up with a personal injury attorney sooner rather than later to ensure all necessary steps are taken.
Our team is here to help. Complete our free, no-risk case evaluation to connect with our team about your situation.