Injured And Unable To Work, But Does Your Situation Qualify As A Personal Injury Case?

Posted on: 24 July 2017


When you can't work due to an injury, life can become very scary, very quickly. Bills pile up, you have no money coming in, and especially if you're in constant pain, there's no end in sight. Relief may come in the form of successfully pursuing the party responsible for your injury, but does your situation qualify? Was your injury a simple mishap that could have happened to anybody or can you hold a party legally responsible, and therefore, sue them?

Sometimes, only a personal injury lawyer can answer these questions, but generally, you should be able to determine if what's happened to you fits the criteria for legal pursuit.

The Party Responsible For Your Injury Was Under Some Obligation

Most personal injury cases depend on the fact that a person or party had an obligation to somehow avoid the harm that happened to you. This can be as simple as another driver on the road who was obligated to drive in a safe manner, but in failing to do so, caused you bodily harm. A property owner has some obligation to avoid harm, for example, by either keeping the area safe or marking areas that may be unsafe. Your doctor has an obligation to not harm you, also. This obligation may be clearly defined by a governing body (such as a medical board or property laws), or the obligation may be more convoluted, but either way, once you have determined the obligation, you can assign responsibility.

The Obligation Was Not Met

After proving that there was, in fact, an underlying obligation, you need to be able to demonstrate that the obligation was not met. Somehow, the party failed to uphold the expectation of safety.

You Sustained Harm Or Injury

Proving you have been harmed isn't usually a difficult obstacle, unless there are other circumstances, such as an existing injury, meaning this incident worsened a previous one or the injury isn't clear and obvious, like a painful back, headaches or emotional trauma.

You Can Connect The Failed Obligation To Your Injury

In addition to verifying the physical or mental harm inflicted on you, you must also be able to clearly connect the failed obligation with your injury. Whatever responsibility the party had to protect you or avoid causing harm was not met and those circumstances were the direct cause of your injury.

If your situation satisfies the criteria thus far, you very likely have grounds for a personal lawsuit. However, as you make the determination of whether to file suit and contact a lawyer, take the following into consideration:

Identify The Specific Person Or Entity Responsible

You must be able to assign responsibility to a specific person or party, such as property owners, the driver of a vehicle or the manufacturer of a product. Sometimes unavoidable circumstances are to blame, such as extreme weather or in some cases, you might have been responsible for your own safety, as could be the case if you failed to adhere to a warning label or posted notice of potential danger.

Provide Medical Evidence Of Your Injury

If you're unable to work due to an unidentified source of pain, like a sore knee or back, you need to return to your doctor for a more complete explanation of your situation. To move forward with your case, you'll have to offer real evidence of the harm that's been done to your body, even if it's not showing up in an X-ray or MRI. Unless the harm is obvious and gregarious, such as a lost limb or broken bones, everything you claim will be scrutinized for truth by the defendant's legal team, including the insurer who is likely to pay out on the case. You must, therefore, have irrefutable proof of your injury and what caused it.

Document All Your Expenses And Losses Related Specifically To The Injury

Going back from the date you sustained the injury, document all of your expenses, including the hours you've lost at work. Keep detailed records of visits to the emergency room, your doctor, physical therapists and even counseling, if you've felt that was a necessary part of your treatment, too. A lawyer can help further define your losses and injury, such as projected future earnings, loss of quality of life and emotional trauma, depending on the circumstances.

Just because your situation qualifies as a personal injury case doesn't mean you're automatically going to win going into a courtroom. You and a lawyer have a lot of ground to cover before you can build a solid case against the responsible party, prove the case and take it to trial or settlement. In the meantime, try to take good care of yourself and be as diligent in helping your personal injury lawyer as possible.

For more information, contact a business such as Velde Moore Limited.