The 4 Main Elements Of A Personal Injury Case

When a personal injury legal services provider sits down with a prospective client, they have to establish how much of a case there might be. In doing so, they tend to look closely at these four core elements of a claim.

Legal Standing

This is the idea that you are in a legal position to pursue a claim or a lawsuit. Unsurprisingly, the primary victim of an incident almost always has legal standing to pursue damages. Other parties are much less likely to have standing, although there are arguments for why spouses or dependent children may have standing.

Demonstrable Injuries Deserving of Compensation

First, the injuries you've suffered have to be something that can be demonstrated to a jury. Physical injuries that can be medically documented are usually the easiest to prove, but claims of pain and suffering can be driven by psychological, mental or emotional trauma.

Similarly, there has to be enough in the way of compensable damages to justify a case. In theory, someone could hit you with a crowbar and not leave a bruise. Despite how appalling it might be for anyone to strike someone else with a crowbar, the law's view of such things is generally "no harm, no foul." Arguably, though, psychological trauma from a failed assault might be compensable.

An At-Fault Party

Before a personal injury lawyer files a claim, they have to know who to ask for compensation. One of the simplest defenses that people named in claims and lawsuits can make is that the events arose due to an outside and uncontrollable force, such as the weather. Another defense is that someone else is responsible.

This is a component in many slip-and-fall cases, for example. There is always a question with something like an icy sidewalk regarding exactly how long is too long after a storm to leave a sidewalk untreated. Similarly, the owner of a business next to a sidewalk might assert that clearing it is actually the responsibility of a city government. Rules regarding responsibility vary between jurisdictions, clouding the issue.

Some Form of Negligence, Recklessness, or Malice

Ideally, you want to be able to draw a straight line from an at-fault party's conduct to the injuries you suffered. Likewise, you have to show they had a duty to prevent what happened. If a busted step in an apartment complex wasn't roped off to prevent you from using it, for example, you might bring a claim against a building's owner.

To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer.