In 2020, more than 55 million people sought medical help for preventable injuries. These injuries weren’t from COVID-19, but from driving, or working on home projects.
If you sustained an injury recently, you might be able to file a lawsuit to recover costs and damages.
How do you know if you have a personal injury case? You need to have a personal injury case checklist because it’s not always easy to tell if you have a case or not.
You have to convince an attorney that you can win a settlement or trial. That means you have to have the documentation to back your claim.
It can be an intimidating process, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on and follow the checklist below to win your personal injury case.
Personal injury law is a part of civil law. It’s also known as tort law. This is the section of the law that protects people because of someone else’s action or inaction.
The first item on your checklist is to see if you do have a personal injury case. There are dozens of types of personal injury cases, from dog bites to medical malpractice.
Auto accidents, product issues, and failure to perform job duties can cause accidents, too. At the center of a personal injury case is negligence.
There are four elements of negligence that determine if you have a case or not. Here’s what they are:
Duty to Care: the person at fault had a duty to you. An example is a driver that had a legal duty to drive under the speed limit but didn’t.
Breach of Duty: The person didn’t perform that duty.
Causation: The breach of duty directly caused your injuries.
Damages: This is the monetary value of your injuries. This includes time off work, medical bills, and mental suffering.
If you can show all four elements, you have a personal injury case.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the deadline to file a personal injury case after the accident. This varies by the type of personal injury claim and the state where the accident happened.
The statute of limitations is two years in most states.
Keep in mind that you can’t procrastinate to pursue your case. The longer you wait, the harder it is to connect your injuries with the accident.
You also have to give your attorney enough time to review your case before filing documentation for it.
Photos of the Scene
The actions you take immediately following an accident are the most important. There are a lot of details that you have to collect to prove your case.
These details get lost or forgotten as time goes by. Photographs of the scene immediately following an incident capture the conditions that led up to the incident.
If you’re injured and can’t collect the information, don’t panic. There are other ways to get the information you need.
Police or Medical Reports
You might be tempted not to contact the police after a minor auto accident. You don’t want to report the incident to insurance and have your premiums increase.
That’s a real fear, but giving into that fear can hurt you.
Your injuries can appear days after the accident and you don’t have any proof the accident caused your injuries.
Contact the police and let them take a report. The report contains road conditions, witnesses, and what happened. You should visit the doctor shortly afterward to document your health after the accident.
What do you do in a slip and fall case? You could call the police, but your priority is to seek immediate medical attention.
The medical report will demonstrate the fall caused your injury. The police report details the conditions that caused your fall.
Earlier, you learned that damages are financial compensation for a personal injury. How does someone arrive at the figure for damages?
It’s a combination of things, such as mental and physical pain and suffering along with the actual amount of money lost.
Keep every bill and receipt spent on your injuries. Medical bills, pharmacy receipts, and transportation costs to appointments should be kept.
If you had to take time off of work, bring paystubs and correspondence between you and your employer.
What do you do if you’re self-employed? Client correspondence that shows disruption to your operations, invoices, and tax returns are enough to document how much money was lost due to the accident.
Another way to support your case is to keep a journal of your injuries. You can give attorneys and a judge a look into your daily life after the accident.
An injury journal shows how you feel day-to-day and how the injury impacted your life. Be sure to document everything from your sleep to stress levels as a result of the accident.
Personal Injury Attorney
A good personal injury attorney will fight for your rights and help you win a settlement. They’ll help you determine if you have a case or if you need more documentation.
They’ll work with insurance companies to make sure that you have a fair and just settlement.
Finding the right attorney can be tough because there are so many attorneys out there. Find one that specializes in personal injury cases and has a winning track record.
Find more info here for an example of a law firm with experience in personal injury law.
It helps to interview several attorneys before settling on the one to represent you.
The Ultimate Personal Injury Case Checklist
Personal injury law is broad and confusing for most people. Even if you sustained injuries because of someone else, you still have to legally prove it.
This personal injury case checklist gives you everything you need to win your case. Follow the list and you’ll have a solid personal injury case.
Be sure to check out the other articles on the blog for more legal tips and insights.