What Makes a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
Accidents happen unexpectedly, and when they result in injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to seek compensation through a personal injury case. However, not all injuries automatically qualify for legal action. Understanding whether you have a valid personal injury case is crucial before pursuing legal action. In this blog post, we will explore the key factors to consider when evaluating the validity of your personal injury claim.
Negligence: The Foundation of Personal Injury Claims
The basis of any personal injury case is proving negligence. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. To have a valid case, you must demonstrate that the responsible party owed you a duty of care and breached that duty, directly causing your injuries. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident, you would need to show that the other driver was negligent, and their actions led to the collision and your injuries.
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Evidence to Support Your Claim
Having evidence to support your personal injury claim is crucial. This evidence can include photographs of the accident scene, medical records, witness statements, video footage and any other relevant documentation. Collecting and preserving evidence promptly after the incident occurs can significantly strengthen your case.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has a statute of limitations, which is the time limit within which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. Missing this deadline could mean losing your right to seek compensation. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations is two years following the date of the accident. The exception for minors extends their claim to the day before their 20th birthday, but this does not apply to the parents’ claims for any out-of-pocket losses. There are some other very specific and limited exceptions.
Seriousness of the Injury
Ideally, a personal injury case typically involves injuries that result in significant damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, noticeable scarring or disfigurement, significant disability or the loss of a bodily function. Minor injuries that heal quickly may not be sufficient to make it worthwhile for you to pursue a personal injury claim. However, the severity of the injury alone is not the only factor to consider when determining the validity of your case.
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Insurance coverage plays a significant role in personal injury cases. If the at-fault party has inadequate insurance or lacks insurance altogether, it may impact your ability to recover full compensation. Sometimes additional coverage is available such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or other applicable insurance policies in a motor vehicle crash, could provide the necessary financial compensation.
Exceptions to the Negligence Requirements
There are cases where negligence is not needed for a recovery. The most common examples of this would include 1) workers’ compensation, 2) failure to provide informed consent in a medical malpractice case 3) product liability and 4) certain statutory remedies.
Consultation with a Personal Injury Attorney
Navigating the complexities of personal injury law can be challenging on your own. Seeking the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney is essential to your case. A skilled attorney can help you understand your legal rights, evaluate the evidence, negotiate with insurance companies and represent you in court if necessary.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Berger and Green for a free consultation. An experienced attorney can review your case and answer your questions.