Before calling an attorney, you may be wondering if you have a personal injury case. To help with the process, we put together a list of questions we ask to help determine whether you may be eligible to recover monetary damages. If you need to more info, speak with a San Diego personal injury lawyer at Injury Trial Lawyers, APC. We are available 24/7 to take your call.
Have You Been Injured?
To recover in a personal injury case, you or a loved one must have been injured either physically or emotionally. For example, if you were in a car accident and your injuries required medical treatment, you most likely have grounds for recovery, assuming you were not at fault for the accident.
If, however, you were in a car accident and you or a loved one were not injured, then you would not pursue a personal injury claim solely for damage to your vehicle.
Another example involves dog attacks. If you were attacked by a dog, you most likely have a personal injury claim against the dog owner. However, if a dog attacked your dog and you were not injured, then you most likely do not have a case as dogs are considered property for legal purposes.
If you or a loved one suffered physical or psychological injury, please proceed to the next question.
Was Someone Else At Fault?
Once you establish that you or a loved one suffered physical or psychological injuries, the next question involves the more complex issue of liability. To recover for a personal injury claim, you must prove that the defendant was negligent and that their negligence was the cause of your injuries.
For example, if you were rear-ended in an auto accident then establishing fault is straightforward. In other cases, establishing liability may be more complicated, especially if there is more than two parties involved in the incident that led to your injuries.
If you have been injured and suspect that someone else may be at fault, then you should reach out to a personal injury lawyer to discuss your situation.
How Long Has It Been Since the Incident?
In general, you only have two-years from the date of the incident that led to your injuries to file a personal injury claim. While exceptions exist, the 2-year rule covers most cases. Therefore, you should immediately speak with an attorney after an accident as it may take time for your attorney to investigate your claim and acquire the necessary evidence to move forward.
Have You Already Accepted a Settlement Offer?
We often receive calls from people who accepted a settlement offer from an insurance company or liable party, only to later discover that they accepted an amount far lower than the value of their claim. Before accepting a settlement offer, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney regarding your case. Once you accept a settlement, you are most likely barred from pursuing any further legal action against the negligent party.
Did You Suffer a Monetary Loss Due to Your Injuries?
Monetary, or economic damages, can result from things like lost wages or medical bills. If you did suffer a monetary loss as a result of the accident, this helps to bolster your claim. On the other hand, if you suffered no monetary loss due to loss wages, medical bills, etc., then recovery becomes more complicated.
Have You Lost a Loved One in an Accident?
If you lost a loved one, you’ll definitely want to speak to a personal injury attorney regarding your situation. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. These types of claims are complex, so you’ll definitely want the assistance of an experienced attorney.