Imagine you slipped on ice and broke your wrist. The ice was on a sidewalk in front of a store. Does that mean you can sue the owner for personal injury?
There are many factors that go into creating a personal injury claim. You’ll evaluate the location of the sidewalk, how long it had been since the ice formed, whether or not negligence was at play, and if the store owner can afford to pay your medical bills.
How do you know when you have a personal injury case? You’re not alone in asking this complex question.
“Not all accidents and injuries are due to negligence. Sometimes people simply get hurt.” explained by Phoenix attorneys Mushkatel, Robbins, & Becker, PLLC. So, it’s important to understand the distinction between an “injury” and a ‘personal injury claim.’ In other words, when is an injury a ‘case?’ The law calls a personal injury claim a tort. A personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case for certain specific details that indicate whether you may have a right to ask someone else to pay for your injury. If all elements exist, then you probably have a tort claim.
The elements of a claim may vary depending on the situation. However, if your personal injury falls into any of these categories, you probably have grounds for a case.
1. You were in a car accident caused by another person
Car accidents are probably the most common causes for personal injury claims. Each year, there are more than 6 million car accidents in the United States resulting in 3 million injuries. About 2 million drivers in car accidents sustain permanent injuries.
When another person caused you and those in your car to sustain serious injuries, they should be held liable for the damages, including medical bills, car repairs, lost wages if your injury prevents you from working, and compensation for the resulting lifestyle changes.
It’s not always easy to determine fault in car accidents, except in the case of a rear-end accident, as that’s usually the fault of the following driver. Filing a police report and recording evidence at the scene is your best bet for winning your case.
Watch out for “no-fault” car insurance laws, however. If you live in such a state, your options are limited. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the limitations presented so that your pain, suffering, and bills are covered.
Related: How to Deal with a Huge Medical Bill
2. You had a medical procedure and the doctors, nurses, or staff messed up
While the majority of healthcare providers aim to exercise the highest standard of care for all patients, there are times when things can go gravely wrong. If you or a loved one has experienced poor medical care, misdiagnosis, lack of consent, or breach of doctor-patient confidentiality that has resulted in harm or injury, you may be entitled to medical malpractice recovery.
The article goes on to discuss the steps of bringing about a medical malpractice case, including contacting the doctor or medical professional involved and the relevant medical licensing board. You must also get a medical assessment to confirm that your case has merit and follow the statutes of limitations in your state.
With medical malpractice cases, you can often avoid a drawn-out court case by taking a settlement early on. Defer to the expertise of your attorney in determining whether to settle or pursue more compensation through further proceedings.
3. You slipped and fell on another person’s property because of negligence on their part
Another common type of personal injury case, slip and fall cases, can result in nasty injuries. These injuries can often be avoided if property owners are very careful about removing all reasonable hazards from the premises.
You may have a reasonable slip and fall personal injury claim for both residential or commercial properties, but they’re more common in the commercial setting. Depending on the landowner’s legal duties, the municipal and state laws, and the occasion in which the accident occurred, you may or may not have a strong case.
4. You were injured in the workplace
A workplace injury can be very serious and can often result in loss of work, minor or major permanent disability, and hefty medical expenses. Your employer should cover all medical expenses related to the injuries obtained, and if they don’t, you have grounds for personal injury claims.
The first steps in obtaining compensation for your injury, according to the Worker’s Compensation Board in New York, is to first obtain the necessary medical treatment for your injury. Keep records of this treatment to be presented to your employer’s insurance carrier.
After you’ve been medically cared for, discuss the incident with your workplace supervisor and file a worker’s compensation form. Your employer has a legal responsibility to cover all medical bills and damages, including a stipend for any resulting lifestyle problems the injury may cause in the future. If they refuse adequate payment, contact an attorney to fight for your case.
5. A neighbor’s dog attacked you, causing serious injuries
A dog attack can be very serious, and if you’re not the owner of the pet, you shouldn’t have to cover the medical bills.
Dog owners can usually be held liable when their dogs cause injuries to other people. This is true whether the dog bites someone, or otherwise causes injury or damage to property. Sometimes, a fair settlement of the issue can be reached without having to file a lawsuit, but often the injured party will need to sue the dog owner to hold him or her liable to the full extent that the law allows – or to get an insurance company to move on the case.
Get a free consultation from an attorney to determine whether it’s worthwhile to sue the owner and learn more about the compensation you may receive. Keep in mind the statute of limitations when you’re deciding whether or not to sue so that you don’t miss your chance.
6. You were the victim of assault and battery
Intentional torts have nothing to do with determining fault or negligence, unlike most personal injury claims. If you’ve been assaulted by another person, you have grounds to sue for both monetary compensation and legal justification.
Intentional tort cases almost always involve criminal charges in which the guilty party faces a hefty fine, community service, and/or jail time. These cases can be time-consuming and demanding, since it includes both the personal injury and criminal charges aspects. Be prepared for the emotional toll this may take on you as you gain compensation.
All personal injury cases will be both physically and emotionally draining, so be prepared. You need a talented, compassionate, and dedicated attorney to help you through these cases. The rewards are almost always worthwhile, so hold out for the light at the end of the tunnel.