When someone wants to open a personal injury case with an attorney, he or she usually has suffered some type of injury that they say was caused by the reckless actions or negligence of another person. While there are all types of accidents that happen to people every day, most of us expect to be protected from injury and especially if we visit another person’s property.
Personal injury cases fall under what’s called “tort law”. These are lawsuits that are not of the criminal nature but which address wrongs that occur from someone’s either intentional or unintentional actions. While there are many reason someone may file a personal injury claim, all personal injury cases consist of two basic elements which are:
Determining Whether or Not There was an Injury
The first element which personal injury attorneys look at is determining whether or not an injury occurred. An injury can be very severe and life-threatening or it could be far less serious but still serious enough wherein the injured party can seek compensation. While an injury such as a broken limb or deep laceration makes it clear that an injury has indeed taken place, back injuries or traumatic brain injuries are not so obvious as you can’t “see them”.
If you’ve suffered an injury as the result of a car accident and feel the accident was caused by another driver’s error, it’s important to contact the police and your insurance company. You also need to seek medical care so that your injuries are tended to and documented. It would also be beneficial to take photographs of the accident scene if possible and to snap a few photos of your injuries if they are visible injuries. Photographic evidence is a very powerful tool used by personal injury attorneys who are working to convince the courts that their clients did indeed receive injuries.
Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries?
The second basic element of a personal injury lawsuit is finding out whether or not someone else is legally responsible for causing the injury. You can sustain a very serious injury that threatens your life but if no one is legally responsible, then you have no case. And, if you happened to have been involved a nasty car accident that someone caused but you didn’t sustain any injuries, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit.
Your attorney’s job is to gather all the evidence pertaining to the mishap or accident and your injuries. Once he/she has gathered the info, you’ll be told whether or not you have a solid case. If your lawyer clearly sees that you’ve received injuries that were treated and documented by medical professionals and feels that yes, someone else is legally responsible, then you can expect a lawsuit to be filed on your behalf. How long it takes to settle your personal injury lawsuit depends on how complicated your case is. If your attorney feels it’s necessary to interview dozens of people in order to build a strong case, your lawsuit could take months to settle. Your attorney should be able to give you a general idea as to how long your case will take.