In personal injury cases such as car accidents, it is not always apparent if the victim has grounds for a claim.
Typically, the merits of a personal injury claim are based on the elements of negligence. If you have been injured in an accident and intend to file a case, you must prove these elements to have a solid claim and get the compensation you deserve.
This article will discuss the signs you have a personal injury case.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case? 5 Signs You Have a Personal Injury Claim
If you can prove the elements below, you and your personal injury lawyer have better chances of building a solid case.
1. The defendant owed you a duty of care
Duty of care means practicing responsibility and taking safety precautions to prevent harming others. Under the law, there is a duty of care when the relationship between the victim and defendant requires the latter to act a certain way. For instance, while pedestrians are expected to be vigilant, drivers bear the heavier obligation of following traffic rules at all times to avoid accidents.
Suppose a driver failed to stop at a pedestrian crossing, did not turn on the headlights while driving at night, was overspeeding, or tried to beat the red light. In this case, the driver did not perform the duty of care imposed on them by law.
2. The defendant breached the duty of care
After establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care, you must prove that they breached that duty of care.
There is a breach in the duty of care owed to the victim if the defendant’s actions fell short of the level of care required by law, which is reasonable care. For instance, a man was riding a bike when a car suddenly hit him, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. When the vehicle’s driver came out, the bike rider realized the former was drunk.
The driver breached the duty of care by driving while under the influence of alcohol. Drivers must practice safe driving at all times. However, in our example, the driver did not adhere to the accepted standard of care while driving, performing an action a reasonable person would not have done—drunk driving.
3. The breach caused your injuries and losses
This is where you prove causation or the relationship between the defendant’s negligent action and the resulting accident leading to your injuries. You must prove that the defendant’s misconduct directly caused your injuries and other losses.
For example, a person crossing the pedestrian lane got hit by a car and subsequenty sustained injuries. The vehicle’s driver was later found to be texting while driving. The driver’s failure to practice safe driving constitutes a breach of the duty of care the law requires him to perform. Such breach resulted in an accident, causing the victim’s injuries.
4. You have not made any mistakes that would harm your claim
If you did not post anything about your accident, injuries, or personal injury claim on social media, you might have better chances of building a solid case. Keep in mind that posting about the incident can complicate your case since social media posts are considered statements that can be used against you in court.
Meanwhile, if you followed your doctor’s advice to recover from your injuries, you might be able to strengthen your insurance claim. Not obeying your doctor’s orders or postponing your medical treatment can harm your compensation claim as the insurance provider can use your non-compliance to reduce the coverage you’re entitled to.
Moreover, you must not have given a recorded statement to the insurance company about the details of your accident. The insurance adjuster may look for inconsistencies in your report to weaken your claim. Before talking to the insurance company following an accident, it helps to reach out to a personal injury lawyer first to know what information you can and cannot disclose.
5. You are filing a personal injury claim within the allowed period
No matter how severe your injuries and losses are, filing a personal injury claim would be useless if it is done beyond the prescribed period. When filing for lawsuits, there is a statute of limitations or deadline, and acting after the specified timeframe will invalidate your case.
In personal injury, the victim has two years to file a case from the date of the accident. If the injury was discovered later, the victim has one year to file upon discovery.
An example would be a slip and fall case, where the injury may not be apparent within the first few days or weeks after the accident. Symptoms of the injury, like a brain injury, may only appear a few weeks following the accident. To ensure you are filing your claim within the required period, it’s important to consult a personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident.
Justice on the Way
Suffering injuries or losses from an accident caused by someone else’s negligence can be overwhelming. In this instance, it’s essential to see the bigger picture and be proactive rather than reactive. Reaching out to a personal injury lawyer will help you sort things out and increase your chances of having a strong personal injury claim.
If you need a personal injury attorney in Orange County to guide you through your personal injury case, reach out to us at RMD Law. We have a team of experienced lawyers ready for the tireless representation you deserve. Contact us for a free case evaluation!