Answer These Questions to Figure Out Whether You May Be Eligible for a Settlement
Those who were recently injured in an accident may find themselves facing unexpected medical bills while having to miss work while they recover. A google search may suggest filing for compensation to help—but is there a way to tell whether you will be successful?
While there are no secrets to prevailing in your personal injury claim, our team can help you figure out whether you are eligible to file and how strong your case is likely to be. Here are some of the basic questions we cover in every consultation with a prospective client.
Was Someone Else at Fault for Your Accident?
Whether you were hurt in a car accident or by tripping down a staircase, the most important question to any personal injury case is whether someone else’s negligence played a role in the incident. Even in cases where you were partly at fault, you are likely still eligible to bring a case against other involved parties. They may include:
- A careless driver
- An irresponsible medical care provider
- A property owner who failed to maintain their land safely
- The employer of a drowsy truck driver
- A manufacturer that made a faulty product
- Any other person or company whose negligence led to your injury
While you may not know at this juncture who was at fault, knowing it was someone else is a start. Any good personal injury attorney will fully investigate your case to determine all liable parties.
Did the At-Fault Party Have a Duty to Protect Your Safety?
This duty isn’t always the kind that needs to be spoken or agreed upon. By living in a society, we all accept the laws that govern us—laws that are meant, among other things, to protect one another from injury. Anyone with a driver’s license, for instance, is responsible for the damage they do with their vehicle. This is a type of duty to others. Likewise, there are implied contractual duties when you hire someone for their services (such as a doctor or mechanic) or even buy a product from your local supermarket.
However, if something went wrong because you followed a person’s professional advice, you must show they agreed to help you before you can file a lawsuit. An “expert” who posts an online video telling you cancer can be cured by drinking healthy smoothies for every meal is lying, but because they have not directly entered an agreement with you to give you health advice, you cannot hold them liable if their “cure” doesn’t work. By contrast, if your physician prescribed the wrong medication, causing a medical condition you had to worsen or progress, you can hold them liable for being negligent in your care.
Did You Suffer Damages?
Damages, as a legal term, means any losses or expenses connected to an accident. A personal injury claim allows you to ask for compensation for any outright financial cost or challenge that sufficiently disrupts your life. These include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical needs
- Physical/vocational therapy
- Counseling or mental health treatment
- Lost wages
- Decreased earning potential
- Disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
You do not need to know the exact cost of your damages at this point—a lawyer can help you calculate how much you can ask for.
However, the overall severity of your accident and damages are another important data point to keep in mind if you are deciding whether to make an injury claim. If your expenses are extremely low, pursuing compensation via the at-fault party’s insurer on your own may be a better solution than hiring an attorney.
Can You Directly Link the Liable Party’s Actions (or Inaction) to Your Damages?
This is a question that puts an end to many would-be injury claims. To hold someone else liable for the harm you suffered, their actions must be a direct cause of your injury. Here’s what that looks like:
Direct cause: A driver fails to look before making a right turn, clipping the back wheel of your bike and knocking it over. You fall off and suffer a broken nose and arm along with facial lacerations and a concussion.
No direct cause: A driver fails to look before making a right turn and comes close to hitting you as your cross the street on your bicycle. While turning around to admonish them for their carelessness, you miss the curb and go over the handlebars of your bike, spraining your wrist and suffering internal injuries in your torso.
No judge will entertain a case where the defendant’s actions cannot be directly linked to the plaintiff’s damages.
Do You Have Evidence?
The more proof you have of the liable party’s involvement, the easier it will be to argue your case. Photos of your wrecked car, a copy of the police report, medical records, and eyewitness testimony are a few pieces of data we use to show how an accident happened. If you do move forward with an attorney, they should thoroughly review your accident and help you gather evidence. However, it’s a good idea to consider what you might use to demonstrate your claim and do your best to preserve that information.
You’ll also need evidence of your damages—think medical bills, a receipt from your mechanic, pay stubs to show how much work you missed, etc. Your lawyer will provide support here as well and can help you identify and access the documents you need. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to put everything related to your accident and injury in a folder so you have it in one place.
Questions About Your Injury Claim? We Have Answers.
If you answered “yes” to all of the above questions, filing a personal injury claim might help you restore your financial security and support yourself and your loved ones while you recover. Grewal Law PLLC is here to represent injury victims across Michigan. We have over 100 years of combined experience and the knowledge the handle your case efficiently and effectively.
After a serious accident, it may feel like your life is upside down. We want to help you start moving forward again.
Our team is available 24/7 to take your calls and offers same-day appointments in any of our 3 offices across Michigan. Reach out to us today at (888) 211-5798 to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys in a free consultation.