The law is complex, and such is the case when intending to file a personal injury claim. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another individual, you might be thinking about filing a claim. However, just because you’ve been injured in an accident, does not automatically mean that you have a valid personal injury claim.
A successful personal injury claim resulting in some form of compensation will require three essential components. Let’s take a look below:
Proof of Negligent Behavior
Firstly, you must be able to prove in court that the responsible party–the one that injured you–was guilty of negligent behavior, and that this behavior directly led to you receiving the injury. Under the law, negligence is defined as “failure to exercise the appropriate and or ethical ruled care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances.” See an expanded definition and circumstances here. If you are driving along and you are suddenly hit by another vehicle because they were using their cell phone inappropriately instead of watching the road, for example, they would be considered negligent under the law, because the specific set of circumstances–in this case driving come with a basic expectation that a driver will eliminate distractions and focus on the road ahead and his or her surroundings.
The Other Party Was the Cause of Injury
It may seem obvious or simple, but you have to be able to prove in court that there is a direct link between the injury you suffered, and the carelessness of the accused party. For some cases this can be fairly simple. If someone Is talking on or using their cell phone, and are so distracted that they hit your vehicle, and the impact fractures some bones, there is a direct causal link between the driver and your injury. They most likely would not have been distracted enough to hit you and cause your injury had they not been careless regarding their driving.
The Injury Resulted in Compensatory Damages
Of course, suffering a fracture is painful for anyone. But in court, when discussing compensation related to harm, we’re specifically talking about remunerations that need to be made due to that harm. Did the injuries you receive result in any medical bills? Did you lose wages from taking time off of work to deal with the injury? If so, then you might be entitled to compensatory damages.
And yes, any physical pain and suffering that the injury is causing you can also be entered as a reason for seeking compensation in a personal injury case.
If you have managed to meet these 3 basic criteria, chances are good that you have a legitimate personal injury claim to make. However, don’t stop there. There will be much that goes into the lawsuit itself and you need to be prepared.
Gathering evidence, particularly video or photographic evidence that shows clear damage, is instrumental to the point of proving the negligence in court.
For starters, write everything down that happened to you post-incident. This could include an account of the pains, medical bills accrued as a result of the incident, visits to your hospital and what wages were lost as a result of the time off to recover from the injury.
Get names and contact information of any potential witnesses to the accident. If you do speak to them, and especially if you speak to anyone else directly involved in the accident, be sure to take copious, accurate notes off all of your conversations.
If you are planning to move ahead with a claim, be sure to tell anyone that you are considering bringing a suit against that you have intentions of doing so, with the goal being to seek property or personal damage compensation, depending on the incident in question.
Lastly, if you are already in an ongoing personal injury lawsuit, we urge you to be cautious about your online behaviors and profile. As Forbes can attest, your social media presence and how it might be perceived in court can have an impact on your personal injury case. Take care what you do and say online, so that it can’t be used against you by the opposition.