Personal Injury 101

Personal injury cases can be broken down into many different categories.  There are those who are injured in car accidents, and then those who are injured due to a dangerous condition on someone’s property.  Other categories include injuries occurring on the job, medical malpractice, dog or animal attacks, defective products, contaminated food, libel and slander, and the list goes on.

But what all these examples have in common is that the  conduct of some other person caused the injury.  Not every injury results in a legal case.  There must be some person or entity that caused the incident.  Once the cause of the incident is identified, then your lawyer must also decide whether the conduct rises to the level of negligence.  Unless you are able to prove “negligence,” then an injured victim would have no legal claim for recovery.

For example, when someone runs a red light and crashes into your car causing you injuries, then you would have a legal claim against the other driver.  However, where a person is injured by falling down a flight of stairs, but there is no evidence of anything wrong with the steps, then there would be no legal claim even though the injury occurred on someone else’s property.  If you order food from a restaurant and you bite into a piece of glass that was in the food, you would have a legal claim against the restaurant for under the theory of products liability.  At the same time, if you break your tooth biting down on a piece of hard candy, you would not have a claim against the candy manufacturer unless you can show that the candy was defective.

The main thing every injured person must understand is that a personal injury claim always relies on two main questions.  The first question is whether there was an injury.  Injuries can range from very serious life threatening injuries, while others can be less serious but still worthy of some compensation.  An accident can also result in the wrongful death of the victim thereby permitting recovery of other types of compensation that might not be available in a personal injury case.

The second question is whether someone is legally responsible for causing the injury.  Each of these issues is completely separate and independent of each other.  You can sustain a very serious injury, but if no one is legally responsible, then there is no claim.  Additionally, you could be involved in a very serious traffic accident with a drunk driver.  But if you were not hurt, then you would not have a personal injury case.

Your lawyer’s job is to gather all the evidence of your injury as well as the evidence of the incident.  Then your lawyer will analyze the facts of your case to determine if some other party is responsible for your injury.  Sometimes there may be more than one responsible party.  For example, if you are injured in a trucking accident, you might have a claim against the driver as well as the trucking company.  If you are injured due to defective stairs at your apartment complex, then you might have a claim against the owners of the apartments as well as the property management company.

I wrote this article in order to explain the basic factors in every wrongful death or personal injury case so that a potential client can identify whether or not they might have a claim.  Although this all sounds fairly simple, it is far more complicated than it seems.  That is why every injured person who suspects that they might have a case should contact an attorney as soon as possible while the facts of the cases are still fresh.  Otherwise, crucial mistakes can be made that can greatly effect the success of your claim.


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