A personal injury claim arises from an accident that caused injuries and damages to the claimant, and for which another party is liable. The following types of accidents may warrant a personal injury claim if it you can prove another party is at fault.
- Vehicle accidents (car, truck, motorcycle)
- Slip and fall accidents (premises liability)
- Dangerous or defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
- Dangerous drugs and other products
The Four Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
There are four elements that claimants need to prove in order to file a successful personal injury claim: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
The duty of care in a personal injury claim is the responsibility of the defendant to provide reasonable care so as not to cause harm to the claimant. For example, drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road; doctors owe a duty of care to their patients; and lawyers owe a duty of care to their clients.
A breach of duty – also referred to as “negligence” – is when the defendant fails to uphold the duty of care, i.e., acts negligently or recklessly. For example, a driver is negligent if he drives 30 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. A doctor is negligent if he does not adhere to an acceptable standard of care.
Causation refers to establishing a connection between the defendant’s negligence and the accident/injuries. You must prove that the defendant caused the accident and, thus, the resulting injuries. For example, you may establish that a driver who ran a stop light (negligence) caused the accident by slamming into your vehicle. You may establish that a doctor’s failure to diagnose your health condition (negligence) allowed the cancer to spread.
Damages are the resulting consequences (physical, emotional, financial) of the accident and injury. In an injury claim, claimants may recover compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more, as long as it is related to the accident and injuries.
Do I need a personal injury attorney?
Minor accidents that do not result in serious injuries may not benefit from the services of an attorney. In these cases, the claimant may be able to file a claim and recover damages without attorney assistance.
However, if your injuries have a serious effect on your life, such as the following, you should discuss your options with an attorney.
- Your injuries require extensive medical treatment and hospitalization.
- Your injuries prevented you or a loved one from working for an extended period of time.
- Your injuries have led to permanent disfigurement or disability.
- A loved one died due to the injuries sustained in your accident.
- The insurance company settlement does not cover the full amount of your current medical bills and other expenses and losses.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney in Your Area
Personal injury laws vary by state. The statutes of limitations, comparative negligence laws, and other laws specific to your type of accident can vary. Work with a local attorney who is familiar with the laws of your state. Use Primerus to find a personal injury attorney near you who can help you file your claim and negotiate a settlement.