With luck, you’ll never experience the sort of injury that requires going to court. But if the occasion does arise, you need to know a few facts. First, a personal injury claim requires one to meet four specific stipulations before the claim can be accepted. Hire an attorney to walk you through the steps, and you’ll get a better understanding of what’s expected. Until then, here’s a quick breakdown of the four elements a personal injury claim requires.
Duty to the Claimant
First off, you need to prove that the defendant had a duty toward you. Specifically, with a personal injury case, the defendant must have had a legal obligation to prevent or not cause harm to the claimant. This is referred to as duty of care. It can involve following traffic laws, providing a safe work environment, giving quality medical care, and so on. When the defendant fails to perform their duty, they may be financially liable and owe the claimant money to make up for their carelessness. This is one of the most crucial elements to prove.
Breach of Duty
After proving duty to a claimant, one must prove the defendant breached that duty. This means that the defendant did not fulfill the duty and that they can be blamed for the incident occurring. For example, this could include an employer failing to post signs indicating a hazardous area or failing to clear ice from a walkway. Employers, especially, have a duty to provide safe, healthy work environments for their employees. If they fail to do so—intentionally or not—one can accuse them of breach of duty.
Evidence of Injury
The third of the four elements a personal injury claim requires is obvious: an injury must occur. This doesn’t only mean bruises and broken bones. One can also accuse a defendant of causing emotional and financial injury as well as physical, though the former two may be more difficult to prove than visually apparent physical damage. Often, however, emotional and financial injuries can accompany physical ones.
With all the above in mind, the last and most decisive step is proving a defendant is responsible for the injury, whether intentionally or indirectly. There are three types of negligence: gross, contributory, and vicarious. Reckless behavior brings on gross negligence. Contributory negligence means the defendant may not be directly involved but did play a part in causing the injury to occur. Vicarious negligence means the defendant may not have caused the injury themselves but is responsible for the individual who caused it.
A personal injury claim is a complex situation that requires the services of a trained attorney who specializes in such cases. Talk to a lawyer about the next steps to take, the possibility of receiving presettlement funding from a litigation finance firm, and other important aspects of pursuing a lawsuit.