Basic Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
Types of Personal Injury Claims
The manner in which your personal injury case may proceed and the elements necessary to make your claim viable depend largely on the circumstances surrounding your injury and the nature of the damages you experience as a result. The majority of personal injury claims are born from accidents, such as car crashes, surgical errors, and slip-and-fall incidents.
Aside from accidents, there are a number of other circumstances and injury types that may warrant personal injury litigation. Some personal injury claims may stem from the commission of wrongful acts or deliberate infringement upon the rights of one person by another, such as assault, battery, and sexual violence, which are referred to as “intentional torts.” Others may involve defective products, misleading marketing, manufacturing errors, or insufficient safety testing, which could require the filing party to establish the liability of a retailer, manufacturer, designer, or other business entity.
The Burden of the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case
If you are filing a personal injury claim, the burden of proof rests squarely on your shoulders.
Claimants must prove the following when filing a claim based on allegations of negligence by the defendant:
- The defendant had a specific duty to the plaintiff – this duty can be as basic as driving safely if the incident is a car accident. An example would be we all have a duty to stop at red stop lights when driving. Other cases can become more complicated but can boil down to a person’s duty to prevent injuries in some sort of fashion.
- The defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff – this means that the person accused did not follow the duty they were given, and it resulted in an injury. This could mean that someone neglected to stop at the red light and therefore neglected their duty.
- The defendant’s breach of duty led to injury and/or specific damages to the plaintiff – the injury must be demonstrable physical, mental, emotional or financial injury that directly resulted in the breach of duty. You must be able to prove that the breach of duty was directly related to the injury you sustained.
- The plaintiff’s damages are quantifiable and can be rectified (at least in part) through payment of money – the plaintiff must be able to be “made whole” again by payment from the defendant and there must be proof that there were considerable damages that justify compensation.
Evidence of Injury
You must gather as much evidence as possible, regardless of whether your personal injury claim is based on alleged negligence or intentional wrongdoing by the defendant. You should always consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following an injury to ensure you do not fail to obtain valuable evidence or do anything that could weaken your case.
Generally speaking, there are a few categories of evidence you must acquire following your injury:
- Photographs: Whether you’ve been hurt in a car accident, harmed in a violent attack, or injured in any other sort of accident, be sure to take as many pictures as you can. Depictions of the scene and related physical injuries immediately following incident in question may add greatly to the credibility of your case in the eyes of a judge or jury. (In some cases, particularly damning pictorial evidence may even be sufficient to force the defendant to settle your claim before going to court, saving you time and money).
- Police reports: These are especially valuable following car accidents, but police involvement and authoritative record of your injuries from members of law enforcement can significantly boost the believability of your claim. This is particularly true if a police officer records that the defendant directly caused or contributed to the accident which caused your injury.
- Statements from witnesses: If possible, talk to anyone who may have witnessed the accident or attack that resulted in your injuries. Be sure to obtain as much contact information as you can from witnesses in case it becomes necessary for them to testify at a later point in your case.
- Records of the effects of your injury: Immediately following your injury, begin keeping a journal of the ways your injury affects your life. Be sure to log the amount of time you were kept out of work, new limitations posed by your injury, any emotional harm inflicted, and personal suffering of any kind. Also be sure to obtain hard copies of medical bills, doctors’ notes, and other records of your physical injuries.
Skilled Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Clients Throughout Nebraska
When you call Berry Law Firm following an injury, we will evaluate your claim and help you determine whether a personal injury lawsuit is the best course of action in your case. We have successfully handled personal injury cases in Nebraska and are highly familiar with the relevant laws and proceedings. Connect with one of our Nebraska personal injury lawyers as soon as possible in order to receive the trustworthy legal counsel you need to improve your chances of success.