Unfortunately, accidents of all kinds happen on a daily basis to even the most careful of people. However, while many of these accidents will be nothing more than unfortunate events that could not be avoided, some of these accidents will be grounds for a personal injury claim. If you are like many people, it can be difficult to determine which of these categories your accident falls into. Thankfully, taking the time to ask yourself a simple series of questions can help you to make this important determination.
Did Someone's Negligence Or Incompetence Cause Your Accident?
One of the key differences between a simple accident and a personal injury claim is the presence of legal liability. What this means in layman's terms is that either an individual or a company can be held legally responsible for causing your accident. In order for this to happen, you will need to prove that the individual in question acted in a negligent or incompetent way and that their carelessness was the direct cause of your accident. For example, if you are struck by a drunk driver, you can argue that they were negligent in their decision to drink and drive. In this case, the other driver can be held legally liable for causing your accident. However, if you are struck by a driver who is suffering a heart attack, that driver cannot be held legally liable since the accident was also out of their control.
Did You Suffer A Financial Loss As The Result Of Your Injuries?
Another key difference between simple accident claims and personal injury claims is the presence of measurable financial losses. In most cases, these damages will be referred to as actual or real damages and include any financial losses that can be assigned an exact dollar amount. For instance, the cost of your medical care is a measurable financial loss because it can be assigned an exact dollar amount.
There are another type of damages that may also be present in your case. These damages are known as punitive damages and include any losses that have a subjective value. For example, compensation for pain and suffering would be considered a punitive damage because there is no exact value that can be assigned to this loss.
While many personal injury cases will involve both actual and punitive damages, the presence of actual damages is a requirement when filing this type of claim.
A Final Thought
While taking the time to ask yourself the questions outlined above can give you a much better idea of whether or not the facts in your case support a personal injury claim, this is not a decision that should be made on your own. Instead, if you feel your case meets the necessary criteria you should always consult with a qualified injury lawyer before making any final decision regarding your claim.
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16 February 2015
After you have endured a traumatic, life-changing car accident, it can be hard to transition back into your everyday routine. As friends and family members chat about upcoming outlet mall sales or holiday plans, you might be secretly worried about how to pay your medical bills or forget about that wreck. Fortunately, dealing with your car accident case proactively by working with an attorney can really help. After I was involved in a car accident a few years back, my attorney stood by my side and helped me to argue for what was rightfully mine. I made this website to teach others what to do if they are involved in an accident.