Personal injury claims represent a large area of civil law. It includes car accidents, truck accidents, on the job accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, boating accidents, pedestrian accidents, and both medical and dental malpractice (among other types of accidents). It is a civil lawsuit, meaning that no sort of criminal or potentially criminal behavior was involved, where one person is hurt because of the actions of another person. In this post, you’re going to learn about what is needed to prove a personal injury claim. After reading this post, if you believe that you have a valid personal injury claim or if you have questions, call the Law Office of Julie Johnson at 214-290-8001 to schedule your free initial consultation. Our goal is to make sure that you understand whether you have a potential claim, and, if you do, make sure that you know how to protect your legal rights as an accident victim.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim Is About More Than Documentation
Depending upon the type of accident you’re involved in, one of your first steps may be to contact the insurance company of the other party. An insurance company is a for-profit company. While they are supposed to compensate victims for the negligence of their insured, they also want to make as much money as they can. They’ll request documentation such as medical reports, accident reports, and police reports. They may even want to interview you over the phone and record it. Although insurance companies have a legal team, you won’t initially speak to a lawyer. You’ll talk to a claims adjuster. This person may not have any legal training at all. Their goal is to try and pay you as little as possible despite the document you provide. They may try to outright deny your claim or settle with you for far less than your personal injury claim is worth. If you sign a settlement offer without having it reviewed by a personal injury lawyer, you could lose your right to future compensation for your injuries as well as your right to file a lawsuit. Do not trust the insurance company. Your best interests aren’t their concern. After you call the insurance company to report the accident, call us. Let us deal with the insurance company on your behalf to help you get everything you’re entitled to receive. The insurance company isn’t necessarily looking at the legal elements of your personal injury claim. They’re looking only at their bottom line.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim
In Texas, proving a personal injury claim means that certain elements must exist. Those elements are:
- A legal duty of care. Someone had a legal obligation to behave in a way that protects the safety of others. For example, driving a vehicle brings with it several legal obligations. One of those obligations is obeying the speed limit and stop signs. Property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to keep their property safe for others. (What constitutes as reasonable depends on the type of property.)
- There was a breach of legal duty. Going back to our example of driving a vehicle, someone speeding or running a stop sign is a breach of the legal duty they have to obey traffic laws. Breaching a legal duty that someone has for the safety of others is a concept known as negligence. Yet, negligence isn’t enough to prove a personal injury claim. We must move on to the next element.
- Breach of duty caused an actual injury. It’s not enough to speed or to not obey a stop sign. To create a valid personal injury claim, the breach must cause an actual injury. The injury can be physical such as whiplash, traumatic brain injury, concussion, broken bones, lacerations, etc. It may also be property damage such as damage to another vehicle, a fence owned by a private citizen or business, etc. It can also be an emotional injury. While we aren’t going to explain what would make up a valid emotional injury, you should understand that they can be hard (although not impossible) to substantiate. Regardless of the type(s), the injury must be the direct result of the breach of duty.
- There must be losses associated with the breach. This can include both economic losses and non-economic losses. This includes, but may not be limited to, medical expenses, property damage, time from work, and pain and suffering because of the accident.
Don’t Fight the Insurance Company Alone
If you believe that you have a personal injury claim, don’t try to take on the insurance company or the other party alone. Call the Law Office of Julie Johnson at 214-290-8001 to schedule your free initial consultation. We want you to know and understand all of your options and rights. Don’t wait! Call us now.
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