How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?

When you’re injured in any sort of accident, there’s more than just the initial pain caused by the injury that you’ll have to face. Expenses for medical treatment, costs incurred by your family, and lost wages from time you missed working due to the injury are just some of the additional factors that come into play. If your personal injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t be expected to pay for all of these expenses on your own.

The first step in getting the justice that you deserve is determining if there’s a legal case to be made for your injury. If you’re considering pursuing a claim related to an injury that you suffered, you’ll first need to understand the legal landscape around this type of injury. Get started by considering the factors we review below to give you some sense of whether or not you have a case that’s worth pursuing in court.

How Do I Know if I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim in Houston, TX?

You Suffered a Personal Injury

Naturally, the first step in establishing a claim for an injury is determining the type of injury that you suffered. This type of case covers any number of different scenarios, from car accidents to falls, dog bites to injuries caused by defective products not working as they claim, to just about everything in between. These are some of the more common types of injury, but any harm or suffering you faced can constitute an injury.

One important distinction to consider here is that the injury must be physical in nature. You may also be compensated for psychological injury, but in these cases, that psychological injury must be the result of a physical injury that you suffered. Another thing to consider is that this type of lawsuit does not cover property damages, which are treated separately from injuries to your person in the eyes of the law.

Somebody Owed You a Duty of Care

One important legal term that is crucial to understanding this type of lawsuit is the duty of care. This broad term encompasses any situation where somebody else had an obligation to ensure your safety and well-being. This could mean anything from trusting a public transport worker driving while you’re the passenger to trusting a restaurant to have safe floors to walk on, along with many other various scenarios where someone else has a responsibility for your health.

It is also critical to understand situations where a duty of care has not been established. Casual interactions where your health and well-being are a subject are not necessarily scenarios in which someone has a duty of care towards you. For example, talking outside the office with a friend of yours who is a doctor about symptoms you’ve been experiencing and receiving advice that turns out to be wrong would not represent a breach in duty of care.

Duty of Care Was Breached

Now that we have an understanding of when duty of care is established and situations in which there is no duty of care, let’s look at what constitutes a breach of this duty. Legally speaking, the duty of care is breached when the person who the duty falls upon fails to exercise a level of care that an ordinary person would exercise in a similar situation.

While that sort of legal definition can seem murky, it’s because these laws cover such a wide variety of cases. For example, if you trusted a driver to get you where you’re going, but they were intoxicated or drowsy leading to an accident that injured you, that would be a breach of duty of care. Another example would be a spill that a restaurant failed to clean up. Since a reasonable person would exercise enough care to make sure the floor is safe, this represents a breach of duty of care as well.

The Breach in Duty Caused Your Injury

Establishing causation between the breach of duty of care and the injury you suffered is critical in establishing a legal foothold for your case. This makes it important to promptly seek medical treatment after your accident so that a direct link between the accident and your injury can clearly be seen. Otherwise, it may be argued that the injury could have occurred in the intervening time.

It is important to note that an injury need not be severe for it to be suitable for a lawsuit. One common example of an injury often considered ‘minor’ is whiplash from a traffic accident. Although this is often regarded as a minor injury, it can result in persistent headaches, a loss of range of motion, and other hindrances that make it difficult for the injured person to go through their day-to-day life. You may be entitled to compensation even in these so-called minor cases.

There Is Sufficient Evidence to Support Your Claim

As with any legal case, you will need to be able to prove before a jury that your injury was caused by the accident in question. Photographs, videos, and witness statements can all be useful tools in establishing the evidence for your case.

This is another factor that makes it so important to promptly pursue a personal injury case. If too much time has passed, there’s a good chance that there won’t be an abundance of evidence to draw upon when building your case.

You Have Not Done Anything to Weaken Your Case

If you’ve suffered an injury, it’s important to your legal standing that you act thoughtfully in the time that follows. Be sure to seek a prompt medical evaluation after your injury to ensure that your condition is well-documented so that the injury can be clearly linked to the accident you were involved in. You should also follow any advice given to you by a medical professional regarding your accident to prove you’re doing everything you can to alleviate the injury.

In our modern age, another roadblock that could hinder your case is if you post about the injury or accident on social media. While accidents such as these can be important events in your life that you wish to communicate with others about, it’s important that you do so discretely. Public, recorded discourse about the accident could eventually work against you in the courtroom, undermining the case you have to get justice for your injury.

You Are Pursuing the Case in a Timely Manner

While dealing with an injury is a challenging time that can feel busy and overwhelming, it’s important that you see to legal matters involving your accident as quickly as possible. Laws that let you seek compensation for the injury you suffered have a statute of limitations that you must pursue your case within. There will also be a better opportunity to gather strong evidence to support your claim if you’re acting shortly after the accident occurred.

Because it’s so crucial to act quickly in personal injury cases, it’s imperative that you don’t delay. Contact the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz, and Stogner in Houston, TX today. We’re standing by to fight for the justice that you deserve so that you’re compensated fully for the injury that you suffered.