Can you file a claim for anything and everything? Or are only certain claims successful? Keep reading to find out.
Can’t Anybody Sue for Anything?
Far too many people believe that anybody can sue for anything. Despite the media’s portrayal of lawsuits, it’s generally pretty difficult for those with frivolous claims to find an attorney who will take the case in the first place. And, even if they did find an attorney who would take the case, they’d likely be paying the attorney for a case that a judge would probably throw out anyways. Since most personal injury attorneys take cases on contingency—meaning you only pay if you win—personal injury attorneys don’t take cases that they think will be dismissed immediately. Because of this, a case needs to have merit before an attorney will take the case. But how do you know if your case has merit? Keep reading to find out.
In order for someone to have a good personal injury claim, they need to have an injury that was caused by another person’s negligence. Generally speaking, an individual or entity is considered to be negligent when they have a duty, but they breach that duty, and that breach of duty causes injury to someone, and that person who is injured sustains damages (i.e., medical expenses or other financial loss). For example, drivers usually have a duty to look out for obstacles in the road, including pedestrians. If a driver is doom-scrolling on Facebook while driving in downtown Salt Lake City, they’ve likely breached their duty. If they hit a pedestrian (because they breached their duty), and cause the pedestrian to sustain a broken arm, that may be negligence. While you will likely need to speak with an attorney to determine whether or not an individual or entity was negligent, you can start by asking yourself, “what could have been done differently in order to prevent this injury?” In the example above, the driver could have (and should have) put their phone down and paid attention to the road.
In order to have a good claim, the injured party needs to have economic damages. Economic damages refer to damages that have an objective monetary value. For example, if a person was injured and needed to go to the hospital, their hospital bill may be considered to be an economic damage. In short, if you received a receipt for the injury-related expense, or missed work because of your injuries, it’s probably an economic damage. While there are non-economic damages, such as emotional distress, they can be hard to quantify and are almost never seen by themselves. In order to have a good personal injury claim, the party who’s sustained injury should have some economic damages.
Source of Recovery
Civil claims are filed in order for parties to receive financial compensation from parties who were negligent. So, going back to the example where the pedestrian was injured by a negligent driver: if found liable, the negligent driver would likely be ordered to pay for the pedestrian’s injury related expenses. In this example, the negligent driver’s insurance company would likely pay for the pedestrian’s expenses. If the negligent driver does not have insurance, the driver could be ordered to personally compensate the pedestrian’s—meaning they’d use their personal assets to cover the cost of the pedestrian’s injuries. If the driver doesn’t have enough personal assets to compensate the pedestrian, there is nothing that can make them pay. In order for a claim to be successful, there needs to be a source of recovery; in other words, there needs to be a viable way for the injured party to receive compensation. However, there may be another source of recovery. The injured person may still be able to recover through making a claim with their own auto insurance as well- which is why discussing your case with an attorney is always important.
If you’ve sustained injury, and you’d like to file a claim, an attorney will need to be able to verify that the incident that caused the injury actually happened in the first place. Police reports, accident reports, and medical records can all be used to verify that the incident which caused your injury actually did occur. Not every injury has a police report to match. However, if you were injured due to another person’s negligence, it’s important that you do not wait too long before getting medical attention. Injured people who wait too long to receive medical attention often have a more difficult time getting compensation because the entities representing the opposing party may attempt to argue that the injuries were caused by some other incident.
Having an experienced attorney can make all the difference. At Moxie Law Group, our attorneys give out free consultations to help those who have sustained injury determine whether or not they’d benefit from filing a personal injury claim. If you’ve sustained injury, and you’re wondering whether or not you have a viable claim Moxie Law Group is here for you.