If you have suffered injury due to the negligence or reckless behavior of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To determine whether or not you have a case, your attorney will examine the facts and evidence of your accident and injuries.
The first thing your attorney will advise you to do is to get adequate medical attention. Getting medical treatment for your injuries is not only essential to building your personal injury case, it is also essential to your physical recovery and getting your life back on track.
If you have been involved in an accident, you should go to a doctor that you trust. You want to make sure that all of your injuries and any potential long-term effects are identified. Once your doctor considers your condition to be stable, your attorney will begin to sort through your medical bills in order to determine their financial impact.
While you are receiving medical attention, your attorney will be looking at the evidence of your accident to identify and determine liability. In order for you to seek compensation, your attorney will have to show that your injuries were the result of another person’s negligence.
Negligence is defined as a failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. While the behavior in question usually consists of actions, it can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.
In attempting to ascertain whether a person’s conduct or behavior lacked reasonable care, your attorney will consider the four elements that are required to establish a prima facie case (a legally required rebuttable presumption). The elements are:
While analyzing potential negligence in your case, your attorney will attempt to establish the existence of a legal duty owed to you by the person responsible for your injuries. In law, there are two kinds of duty that can be owed:
To determine whether a general duty of care or a special duty was owed, lawyers and courts look at the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant and identify if a duty was owed based on that relationship.
The final part of forming a prima facie negligence case is establishing proof that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. There are two types of causation in cases of negligence which must be addressed:
Another way to think of proximate cause is that the injury of the plaintiff should be close (proximate) in time and close (proximate) in the “chain of causation” linked to the defendant’s actions.
The best thing you can do if you have been injured in an accident is seek immediate medical attention. Your health should always be at the forefront of your mind. Beyond that, contact an experienced attorney for a free consultation.
Thomas J. Henry has been handling personal injury cases for more than 25 years and has a team of more than 100 attorneys ready to review your case. Our attorneys are available to assist you 24/7, nights and weekends