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Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

Whether you've suffered a slip & fall, were injured in a car accident or were bitten by a dog, many people are often left wondering if they have a personal injury claim against the liable party. It's actually fairly common to be involved in a collision or other incident and not feel the full effects of the trauma at the moment it occurs. Adrenaline, shock and human biology have ways of masking pain immediately following a traumatic event.

However, over the next few days you can feel the pain associated with such incidents. You know that your injury had to have been caused by the accident, and you don’t think it’s fair that you’ll have to pay for the emergency room visit you’ll need to make, the possible physical therapy you’ll have to undergo or the time off you’ll need to take from work. What can you do?

If this situation sounds familiar, you may have a personal injury case on your hands.

What Is a Personal Injury Case?

A personal injury case involves one party being injured due to another party’s negligence. Personal injuries can occur in public places or at work, and involve things like an automobile crash, slips and falls, medical malpractice and injuries from defective products. If a plaintiff wins a personal injury case, they may receive funds to put toward their medical treatment, money from lost wages if they had to take off from work and compensation if they experienced emotional distress. Filing a personal injury lawsuit on your own can be a stressful experience, so you should know what's involved before such an undertaking.

A Personal Injury Case Checklist

Before you can determine the answer to, “Do I have a personal injury case?” you will need to put together a personal injury case checklist, which will include the following:

  • You must be able to prove that the defendant had the responsibility to keep you safe and free of injury.
  • You must be able to prove that the defendant breached this duty and did not uphold their responsibility because they acted negligent.
  • You need to show that you were hurt as a direct cause of this negligence.
  • You’re required to demonstrate how this injury negatively impacted your life and caused you to lose money or experience hardship otherwise.

Some other important aspects of a personal injury case checklist include the following.

  • You need proper documentation that you sought out medical treatment following the accident. Preferably, you will go to the emergency room or your doctor immediately after the accident occurs, and they will keep a file on record for the courts stipulating what you came in for and how they treated you.
  • If applicable, you will need a police report, your insurance information (and those from your plaintiff) and rental car receipts. These will be especially relevant if you got into an automobile accident.
  • If there were witnesses, you should have their recorded statements written down somewhere.
  • Documentation of any other claims you had to make or bills you had to pay to treat your injury. If you had to take time off from work, you’ll need your paystubs to reflect that as well.

Some words of caution: It is critical to find the right injury lawyer to handle your case as soon as you are injured and receive immediate medical attention. PersonalInjuryLaw.Guru is a lawyer directory that can help you find a capable personal injury attorney in your area. Your lawyer will advise you on important matters and, oftentimes, cover your medical expenses until you receive a settlement. They will also warn you against certain practices, like posting about your personal injury case on social media or telling the wrong information to an insurance company, which may hurt your case.

What do the Experts Say?

We asked injury attorneys for their input regarding the considerations of an individual potentially having a personal injury case. Below we've outlined some responses on what the experts in this field have to say. 

"If you're seriously injured in any accident, it’s always wise to consult an attorney. There may be some person or entity who may liable for the accident but their involvement is not obvious to you... It’s important to note that to file a claim or suit for injuries, you have to have suffered an injury serious enough to proceed with all the time, effort and expense of litigation. You can’t just sue because you're angry, upset or think that just anyone who is injured is automatically entitled to a recovery."
Steven Mandel

"In real estate it is “location, location, location.”  With a personal injury claim it is “document, document, document.”  What that means is from the very beginning you must consult with and explain all of your injuries, no matter how small, to your medical provider so there is proof of your injuries. If your medical records do not include details of your injuries, the insurance company or jury will seriously question your claims. Go to the doctor right away, don’t miss any appointments, and always document, document, document."
Joe Cravens | Website

"Unlike other types of personal injury cases, wrongful death cases are entirely created by statute in California. Whether you have a personal injury case will be entirely dependent on whether you are one of the enumerated persons in the wrongful death statute. Read the statute or consult with an attorney to determine if you can bring an action for wrongful death."
Jean-Simon Serrano | Website

Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline

Following your injury, there will be a personal injury lawsuit timeline you can expect. The length of the case varies greatly from one to another and will depend on how long it takes for you to recover, how long the investigation and evidence gathering takes, and then the time involved to reach a settlement with the defendant (liable party or insurance carrier).

Here is a general sequence of events you can expect in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • You are injured in a public place or at work.
  • You go to the doctor or emergency room to seek out treatment.
  • You contact a lawyer, or lawyers, to help you with your personal injury case.
  • The lawyer you choose to handle your personal injury case will interview you, ask for all of your records and determine whether or not they can help you.
  • Your lawyer may ask for a settlement from the defendant or their insurance company, or they will proceed with filing a lawsuit.
  • If going ahead with a lawsuit, a lawyer will ensure you receive medical treatment and are at your MMI, or maximum medical improvement, before moving ahead with your personal injury case. This only occurs when you feel fully recovered from your injury. Your lawyer will wait because then they will know how much compensation to demand from the defendant.
  • Your lawyer will file the lawsuit, and then you will wait for a trial.
  • There will be a discovery process, where your lawyer and your defendant’s lawyer question each other’s witnesses, go through each side’s documents and question one another.
  • Once the discovery process has ended, the lawyers will either settle amongst themselves or go to mediation, where a third party will attempt to settle your personal injury case with a mediator.
  • If the lawyers cannot settle with a mediator, you will go to trial, which can take a day, a week or perhaps even longer because a judge is unavailable or something else comes up.
  • After a trial, you will receive the verdict and then any settlement/compensation that you’ve won.

When trying to determine whether or not you have a personal injury case, research is the best place to start. Looking at other personal injury case examples will help you get an idea of how long it will take and what else to expect.

Make sure you follow what your lawyer says to do, and you keep the right documentation of all appointments and records in order to guarantee the most success with your personal injury case.

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PersonalInjuryLaw.Guru Staff

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