Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?

Generally, when you have been hurt in a personal injury case, your first thought is to sue the responsible party. Not all cases warrant the filing of a lawsuit or even assistance from an attorney. In fact, an attorney may not even take your case. Two basic reasons for not taking the claim are: the attorney contingency fee and the costs.The following is helpful in determining the validity of your claim.

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Duty of Care

If one of the elements is missing, you will not be able to recover. Each element must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. A duty may arise in various situations. A person causes an accident, you are hurt at work by a third-party or you slip and fall at the grocery store by a hidden condition. These situations can create a duty owed to you by the other person. 


Once a duty is created, the person causing the situation must not breach that duty. You must show that someone acted in a negligent manner. The most common breach is when someone violates the driving laws and causes an accident. The breach must cause your injuries. Some other previous conduct can not be involved. Sometimes, the breach is too far removed from the timing and circumstances surrounding your injuries for the other person to be responsible.

Causation and Damages

Finally, you must suffer injuries from that person’s conduct. The complained injuries can not occur before the accident. If so, those injuries are generally not related and may only be exacerbated by the negligent conduct. Extent of damages is also important. Even with clear liability, attorneys may refuse to get involved with minor injuries. An attorney may conduct a cost-benefit analysis before taking the case. If the value is less than $5,000, he/she may not get involved. Remember the attorney takes one-third of the gross settlement. The costs must also be paid out of the settlement.

Litigating A Personal Injury Case

There also needs to be sufficient evidence to prove your version of the case. Witnesses, photographs, police reports are all pieces of evidence that can prove the case. Without such evidence, the attorney may refuse the case. If all these elements are met, then the person will be liable for all your injuries. That will should be easily proven. Liability, however, may not be as clear. You may be blamed for your own actions which caused the injuries or there may also be a third party to blame. Most attorneys will confirm liability before taking the case.

Catastrophic Injuries

This type of case usually involves extremely serious and severe injuries. It occurs when someone is negligent, commits a willful or intentional act, or puts out a dangerous or defective product that causes these types of injuries. Because of the severity of these cases, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. A catastrophic injury usually involves the spine, spinal cord or brain, and may also include the skull or spinal fractures. These examples are part of the subset for the legal term catastrophic injury, which is based on the definition used by the American Medical Association.

The legal definition for this type of injury extends the parameters by creating an injury that permanently prevents a person from performing gainful work. It is an injury to the person and not to property. It affects not only the body but the mind and emotions. It generally results in a shortened life expectancy, permanent disability, and long-term medical conditions. Catastrophic injuries are almost always devastating. It requires a rehabilitative process, extended stays in a hospital, several painful surgeries, and full time nursing care. The medical costs are often in the millions!! The following are examples of catastrophic personal injuries:

Catastrophic injuries not only affect the person but can have a huge effect on the family. The family’s life is affected. It creates changes in lifestyle, work ethics, and both personal and social living. In essence, the emotional and financial impact of this type of injury is as devastating as the physical impact  on the injured person. Due to the complexities of catastrophic personal injury cases, it is always wise to seek the legal advice of an experienced personal injury attorney to assist an injured person and his/her family.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Christopher A. Sawan


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