Unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. following cancer and heart disease with accidents accounting for 200,955 deaths in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A person can sustain a personal injury in a number of situations with some of the most common causes being the following:
Slips, trips and falls
If you have suffered an injury as the result of someone else’s actions or inaction, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the harm you received. Despite being the aggrieved party, succeeding in your claim may not be as straightforward as you may think as there are some important aspects of personal injury claims that you should know about first.
Before you can be compensated for your injuries you will need to prove that the other party was at fault and do all that you can to build a strong case. This article will outline some of the ways in which you can maximize your chances of succeeding in a personal injury claim.
Get Legal Advice
Seeking legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney is the first step to establishing whether your claim has any basis. Many law firms that specialize in personal injury law offer free case consultations where you can discuss your situation, receive advice on the merits of your case and decide whether you wish to proceed in bringing a claim without having to pay.
It is also common for attorneys in this field to represent their clients on a contingency fee basis commonly called ‘no win, no fee’ meaning you will only have to pay for your lawyer’s services in the event that your claim is successful. Having legal representation can also help you to gather the correct evidence to bolster your case as well as establish the key elements needed to prove that the other party was at fault.
Another advantage to hiring legal assistance is that it will relieve you of the need to correspond or negotiate with the other side’s insurance company or lawyers, who are likely to dismiss your claim or apply pressure on you to accept a sum that is less than you are entitled to.
In most cases, your attorney will try to reach a fair settlement which maximizes the compensation you are owed without needing to take the matter to trial.
The crux of all personal injury claims center around proving that your injuries were caused due to the negligence of the other party. Negligence occurs when a person fails to act with the level of care that is reasonably expected of them and as result of their actions, or failure to act, causes harm to another.
To successfully prove negligence you must be able to establish the following conditions apply to your case:
1. Duty of Care
It must first be established that the other party owed you a duty of care which means they had a responsibility to take reasonable care in ensuring your safety and wellbeing.
For example, a motorist has a duty of care to other motorists to drive safely and abide by the rules of the road avoiding reckless or dangerous behaviors that could put others at risk of harm. A business person has a duty of care to their customers and employees to ensure their premises are safe and in good repair.
2. Breach of Duty
The duty of care will be breached if the other party acted in a way that caused your injuries. To prove this it must be shown that a reasonable person in the same situation as the other party would have acted differently.
Once a duty of care has been established it must be shown that your injuries were a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the other party’s breach. This requires establishing a direct link between your injuries and the other party’s actions, or inaction.
Their conduct must be shown to be a substantial, if not the sole, factor in causing your injuries.
The final element in establishing negligence is being able to prove that you suffered a quantifiable loss as a result of your injury for which you can receive compensation, known as damages. Damages in personal injury cases typically include recompense for medical expenses, travel to appointments, loss of earnings, property damage as well as mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
Now that you understand the main steps to take and the criteria required to build a strong case you are well on your way to succeeding in your personal injury claim.