What Constitutes a Personal Injury Claim?
Accidents and injuries occur all the time, but that doesn’t make them any less painful when they happen to you or a loved one. Injuries, whether occurring from a car accident, fall, defective product, or medical malpractice, are often accompanied by medical bills, pain and suffering, and ongoing medical treatment. If you’ve experienced any of these, you may be owed financial compensation if your injuries are someone else’s fault. When a person suffers an injury - whether it be physical or emotional - due to someone else’s negligence, they have a right to hold that person, agency, or corporation accountable. If you or a loved one has been injured and would like to seek legal action, here’s what you need to know.
First, a lawyer will file a formal legal document called a “complaint” on your behalf against the party you believe is responsible for your injuries. They will try to prove that the negligent party is legally responsible for your injuries. While some personal injuries are caused by intentional acts or reckless behavior, most are based on negligence. To prove that a party was negligent, there are four criteria that must be met:
The party had a duty to act reasonably according to the circumstances.
The party breached the duty.
The party’s breach of the duty caused you to be harmed.
You suffered monetary damages due to the harm you suffered when the party breached its duty of care.
If you can prove these four ponts, then you will typically be due financial compensation. The severity of the injury dictates the amount you are awarded, with loss of limb paying the most.
Typically, there are two ways a personal injury lawsuit is resolved: either through a civil suit presided over by a judge or in a less formal arrangement called a “settlement” in which an agreed upon sum of money is paid by the defendant (negligent party) to the plaintiff (the injured party).
Statute of Limitations
However, there is a limited time for which the injured party can file a complaint. This is called a statute of limitations. Depending on your state and the type of personal injury you have incurred, there are different laws governing the time for which you have to file. If you wait to file your complaint beyond the statute of limitations, you may forfeit your right to pursue legal action.
Consult an Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to someone else’s reckless behavior or negligence, it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. It is also important to document the injury or experience if at all possible. While evidence to prove a civil case is not as extensive as in criminal cases, it is still important to gather as much evidence to support your case, whether it be gathering testimony from witnesses of a car crash or photographs of an icy sidewalk.
If you can prove negligence by another party as the reason you sustained an injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation which can ease the burden associated with an injury or accident. Contact an accident lawyer in Missouri today to discuss what your next step should be.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.