According to statistics, personal injury lawsuits make up a huge percentage of civil filings each year. In 2020 alone, personal injury cases will account for over 50% of civil filings.
Although personal injury cases are commonplace, you need to make sure that you have a valid claim before moving forward.
Firstly, you don’t want to waste time or money pursuing a personal injury claim that isn’t based on solid grounds. Secondly, if you do take a personal injury case to court—and it is found to be unfounded, you may be liable to pay for the defense’s legal costs.
But, if you have a valid claim, you should follow it up so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Read on to find out how to know if you have a valid claim.
What Is Personal Injury
Before we dive into how to determine whether you have a valid claim, let’s take a look at what a personal injury claim is and how it differs from personal injury lawsuits.
A personal injury claim is lodged with the opposing party’s insurance company in order to claim for damages incurred by that party. If claims are unsuccessful, and a settlement cannot be agreed on, then the claimant may wish to take their personal injury case to court. This results in a personal injury lawsuit.
Was the Other Party to Blame?
The first thing you need to ascertain when establishing if you have a valid personal injury claim is whether the other party was negligent in their actions, and did their actions directly result in your injury?
For example, if a motorist drives through a red light and collides with you, while you were obeying all road rules, then they committed an act of negligence.
On the other hand, say you were driving above the speed limit and had an accident with another speeding vehicle. In this case, negligence may not be as easy to pin on the other driver, as both of you were speeding.
In both personal injury claims and lawsuits, establishing negligence is key to winning the case. If the other party was not negligent, or can’t be proved to have been negligent—you will have a hard time winning your claim/case
Were You Negligent in Any Way?
The next thing to work out is whether or not you were behaving negligently in any way. If you were partly at fault or were committing any applicable act of negligence when the incident took place, this will weaken the grounds of your personal injury case.
This is known as contributory negligence.
For example, if you are in a motor vehicle accident where the fault lies with the other driver, but you were texting while driving and didn’t see the collision coming—this could impact your case.
In some situations, it won’t make your personal injury claim invalid. However, it may be that any contributing negligence on your part will result in reduced claim payment.
Did You Experience Personal Injury?
The other important question to ask yourself when considering a personal injury claim is whether you experienced any injuries?
Without physical, emotional, or financial injury you will have no case.
In many situations, all of these types of injuries are involved in personal injury lawsuits. For example, if you were assaulted, you may have suffered extensive physical injuries, mental/emotional effects such as PTSD, as well as financial injury from medical bills and inability to work while in recovery.
When thinking about what injuries you suffered and wish to claim for, be sure to take all of these injury types (physical, mental/emotional, and financial) into account.
How Bad Were Your Injuries?
Another point to think about is how bad were your injuries? Minor bruising is not likely to impact your life severely. On the other hand, serious injuries with long term effects, such as paralysis, loss of hearing or sight, or loss of a limb could have extremely far-reaching effects on your well-being and income.
If an injury will permanently impact your ability to earn income, this is very definite grounds for a personal injury case.
Additionally, you should also consider what the medical costs of your injuries are likely to be in the future. Injuries that are minor and heal fast won’t require ongoing medical treatment.
In contrast, something like spinal damage may require years of ongoing treatment and medical costs.
Did Your Personal Injury Incur Medical Costs?
Speaking of medical costs, this is a big factor in determining whether or not you have a personal injury claim worth pursuing.
If the other party acted in negligence, and you have had to foot medical bills thanks to your accident, you are likely to have a strong personal injury case. As mentioned above, this is especially so if your injuries were severe.
Did The Accident Cause You to Lose Income?
The final aspect you must consider is where you have lost income as a result of your injuries. If you have, this is another indication that you may have a valid personal injury case, providing that the other party can be proven to have acted in negligence.
Personal Injury Lawsuits and Claims Need to Be Filed Quickly
The last point to consider is when the accident took place. Tennessee law dictates that personal injury lawsuits can only be filed within a year of transpiring.
As mentioned above, all personal injury lawsuits start off with a personal injury claim. If this is not successful, then the case can be taken to court.
The process of making a personal injury claim can take time. Therefore it is best to start these proceedings as soon as possible to make sure that if you do have to go to court that it won’t be too late.
Seek Legal Help Now
If you have suffered in an accident, and are wondering whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney will be able to give you a qualified answer as to whether your personal injury case has a chance, and be able to guide and represent you during the rest of the process.
When picking out an attorney, make sure that you choose someone who specializes in personal injury lawsuits. This will enhance your chances of success.
Do you need to speak to an attorney ASAP about your personal injury case? If so, look no further.