Personal injury claims can be difficult at times to understand, and there are many elements that go into making a strong case.
According to Cornell Law, “personal injuries include every variety of injury to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation, as contradistinguished from injury to property rights.”
Based on this definition, you should understand that these types of injuries can be life-changing.
But if you choose to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit, what exactly are the elements required to create a strong personal injury claim? Let’s find out.
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The Types Of Personal Injuries
If you choose to have a consultation with a expert personal injury lawyer in Seattle, they will likely first ask you about the type of accident you have been in.
Some of the most common types of personal injury claims include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Workplace Accidents & Injuries
By looking at these common types of injuries, a lawyer will then help you determine if they believe they can take on your case or not.
Usually, a lawyer will end up taking on your case if they believe that there is sufficient evidence to prove in a court of law. A few examples of evidence that is necessary are photographs of the accident, audio recordings, or even witnesses of the accident that are able to provide testimony to a judge.
The Elements Of A Personal Injury Claim
Now that you know about the types of personal injury, there are four critical elements that must be proven in a court of law. These elements are:
1. The Defendant Owed The Plaintiff A Duty Of Care
What does the statement above mean in simple terms?
So the defendant is the individual that either committed or is responsible for the injury. For example, if you were in a car accident and there was a driver that hit you and caused injuries, that driver would be the defendant.
Also, the plaintiff is the injured party, or the individual that is bringing legal action against the defendant in the form of compensation.
When the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care, that is a legal obligation that requires the defendant to act with a reasonable standard of care.
2. The Defendant Breached That Duty Of Care
When the defendant breaches the duty of care, that is the second ground for a personal injury lawsuit.
So in this example, the defendant should have acted with a reasonable standard of care by being a responsible driver and not causing injuries to the plaintiff during a car accident.
In addition, lawyers can argue that the defendant was negligent and he chose not to be a responsible driver.
3. The Plaintiff Was Injured & Suffered Financial Loss
This is the most critical element of most injury cases, since the plaintiff needs to be injured to establish grounds for a lawsuit.
There are many things that can cause financial loss such as time taken off of work, medical bills, or even time at doctors appointments. Most attorneys can use documentation of these items to either increase or decrease the value of a case.
4. The Defendant’s Breach Caused The Plaintiff’s Injuries
The last element of an injury case is proving that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
This aspect is perhaps the most difficult to prove in court since it requires a clear correlation between the defendant’s actions and the plaintiff.
And unsurprisingly, crystal clear evidence is required from both parties to prove such actions.
Important Considerations For A Strong Personal Injury Claim
When you’re looking to seek justice for the injuries that you have suffered, it’s crucial to consider hiring the right attorney.
If you choose to hire an attorney, take a look at how experienced the lawyers are, and if they will take on your case. Give their office a call to see if the lawyers you’re working with would be a great fit, and get a sense of how they talk on the phone and how they communicate with you.
It’s also crucial to look at a timely filing of a lawsuit, since in most states, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims ranges between two to three years.
So if it’s been more than three years since an injury happened, most attorneys will likely not take on your case.
Be Aware Of What Constitutes A Claim Today
In summary, there are many injuries that can happen in daily life, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and workplace injuries. With these injuries becoming so common, there are four main elements that constitute a personal injury claim which are:
- The Defendant Owing A Duty of Care
- The Defendant Breaching the Duty of Care
- The Plaintiff Was Injured Due to the Defendants Actions
- The Defendant’s Breach of Duty Caused The Plaintiff’s Injuries
When you look at all of these factors, it’s so important to consider how much of an impact hiring a personal injury lawyer will make on the compensation you can get from your injuries.