In general terms, personal injury is the practice of law that allows an injured person to seek compensation for injury that has been done to them by another party, whether it be carelessness or intentional. Personal injury involves harm that occurs as a result of an accident, like a car accident , a slip and fall accident or a medical malpractice issue. Because no case is exactly the same, building a case can be a lengthy process. Here are some basics that you can review for yourself to get a preliminary idea of whether you have a case that needs further attention. (We encourage you to always seek legal advice for additional explanations and concerns.)
In its simplest form, answer these questions about your accident:
- Were you injured, and did your injury require medical attention?
- Was your injury caused by someone else?
- Were you the only person involved in the accident?
- Was there a failure of something to operate correctly, such as your brakes failing, or a piece of machinery’s being stuck in the “on” position?
- Did someone else disregard reasonable care? That is, in the case of a doctor, did your doctor determine the best course of action or fail to diagnose an ailment that led to a bigger issue? Or, was a driver driving recklessly? All drivers have a social responsibility to exercise reasonable care when driving. Were you involved in an accident where someone was not exercising reasonable care on the road?
- Did you use a product that did not perform correctly?
- Was there recall on the product that you used, yet it was still available on the shelf?
- Was there failure on someone’s part to take care of a situation that should have been amended? Such as: did a homeowners association take care of roads after a snowstorm? Did the store take measure so prevent ice buildup in front of the door to avoid customers falling? Were warning signs posted in areas that should be avoided?
If you can answer some of the questions as they relate to your case, and feel that there was the fault of someone else or entity that caused your injury, your next step will be to seek the advice of attorney who can assist you and further determine whether there is a solid care for your injury. At that time, you can bring some materials with you that may help support the buildup of evidence. Some of those materials include:
- Eyewitness reports
- Medical records
- Your recollection (hand written or tape recorded) of the incident
- Proof that you were out of work for a period of time
- Copies of expenses that resulted from the injury
A personal injury case should never be settled on your own, as there are many more factors out of the reach of a general consumer that your attorney will be able to access. Knowledge of personal injury law is key in achieving the compensation you deserve for your setback.