The right of individuals and groups to seek compensation through personal injury lawsuits is one of the most important aspects of the legal systems in Western countries like the United States and Canada. But it’s also one of the least understood. You’ll hear a lot of myths and plenty of misinformation. To many, personal injury lawsuits are a confusing world of fast-talking lawyers and complex liability. In reality, personal injury law is straightforward and exists to help people who need it — not to penalize folks who have done nothing wrong. The elements of a proper personal injury case are there to ensure that the right people are held responsible, and that innocent parties are not forced to live with unfair burdens.
The elements of a personal injury case
Most of us know at least a couple of things about personal injury law. The injured party sues someone, and they get money, right?
Well, yes — but that is very far from the full story.
A personal injury case, explain experts at the Preszler Law firm in Toronto, Canada, needs a lot more than just an injury to work. The key to a personal injury case is negligence. The person being sued needs to have been negligent for the case to have merit. And that’s not all.
In Canada, the United States, and other countries, personal injury cases have to prove a few things to be successful. They need to prove that the party being sued (the defendant) was negligent. They need to prove that the negligence in question caused an accident. They need to prove that the party that is suing (the plaintiff) suffered damages — real, provable things such as medical expenses — and they also need to prove that those damages were suffered as a result of the accident in question.
That’s a lot of things to prove. Personal injury lawsuits aren’t something that can just happen to people. For instance, if you own a property and someone slips on the sidewalk and breaks a hip, you’re probably not going to lose a personal injury suit — unless the local laws stipulate that you were supposed to be clearing the show and ice on that sidewalk, and it can be proved that you didn’t bother to do that in any reasonable way. If you’re not negligent, you don’t have much to fear from personal injury suits. And, in fact, you may someday have a lot to appreciate about personal injury cases.
How personal injury law could help you
Most of us aren’t negligent, so most of us will never be the target of a successful personal injury lawsuit. And most of us hope to never suffer an injury because of someone else’s negligence — but that’s not something that we can really control or predict.
The fact of the matter is that there is always some risk that we will be injured in an accident that is the fault of someone else. If and when that happens, we can suffer immensely. We may face steep medical bills because of our injuries. Our injuries could prevent us from going to work, causing us to lose income that we would otherwise have earned.
If and when this happens to you, you’ll have one important recourse: a personal injury lawsuit. While everyone would prefer to avoid both injuries and the courtroom, a personal injury lawsuit can be a lifesaver if you are ever in this situation. Your first order of business should be getting a lawyer.
Only a qualified and experienced attorney can tell you if you have a good case for a personal injury claim. Get a consultation as soon as possible, and bring along any documentation you have of the accident and your damages: police reports, medical bills, and more.
Only a lawyer can give you legal advice (this blog is not legal advice!), and a good lawyer who knows your situation and local laws can be an enormous help. You may find that personal injury law can be a powerful tool for justice.