Unfortunately, accidents can happen just about anywhere. Who has not slipped on their own kitchen floor when it was wet? However, when those accidents happen with someone else at fault, and you suffer an injury or harm, there may be a personal injury case. In addition, harm may not necessarily be physical, it can be emotional or mental. What constitutes such a case, and what should you know?
First and foremost, there must be grounds for the case. That is, the injury or harm you sustained was the fault of another party, whether another individual, a business, an organization or a government agency. Generally, the fault comes from something like negligent actions – not clearly marking a wet floor, for instance. However, there are other possibilities, including intentionally causing harm through threat or violence, for example.
Many, not all, personal injury cases are negligence actions. In this situation, you must prove that the other party was negligent, which requires that all four specific elements of a negligence case be present. These are duty, breach, causation and damages. Duty is the legal obligation of an individual or company to provide a standard of reasonable care. Breach is the act of failing in that duty. Causation is proof of harm stemming from the breach of duty. Damages refer to the extent of harm caused.
All personal injury lawsuits are subject to the statute of limitations. There is a time limit after which you will no longer be permitted to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Each state sets its own statute of limitations; Nevada, for example, requires the lawsuit to be filed within two years of most injuries, (this does not apply to all personal injury cases, consult an attorney with your specific facts and questions). It is always best to contact legal counsel soon after your incident to ensure any necessary legal action is taken in a timely manner.
How Do These Cases Move Forward?
In personal injury cases, the injured party will consult an attorney, after which the attorney will determine the best course of action to make the injured party whole again. The attorney will contact the legal counsel of the person who caused the harm, and they will try to reach a settlement. A majority of cases are resolved through this type of negotiated settlement. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the attorneys will go to court to argue the case before a judge.
Have You Been Injured?
If you have been injured through little, or no fault of your own, you may have a personal injury case. A qualified personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine if legal action is the right decision for your specific situation. Make sure you choose the right attorney, though. Consider their history, experience, expertise and the results they have obtained for past clients before making your final choice.