How We Determine if You Have a Personal Injury Case
Personal injury involves something that a person or business does to hurt you. The harm can be to your body as well as to your mind. So personal injury means harm to a person as opposed to his property. To see personal injury explained through answers frequently asked questions see our answers page.
Do You Have a Lawsuit?
Not every injury allows for a lawsuit. In a personal injury case the defendant (person you want to sue) must have either acted negligently or intentionally and as a result, hurt you or a loved one.
How Do We Determine if you Have a Personal Injury Case – 5 Criteria
When you call or email Lowenthal & Abrams’ Philadelphia personal injury lawyers, we will ask you some questions to help us determine if you might have a personal injury lawsuit against someone who injured you. We are looking to determine whether your case meets the following 5 criteria:
1. Did the person owe you a duty of care? This means, did the person who harmed you have some requirement to not do whatever he or she did? If you think about a car accident, we all have a duty to follow the laws and rules of the road, as well as to drive properly. So when we drive we have a duty of care to everyone else on the road.
2. Did the person violate that duty of care? If someone hits your car with his car because he failed to drive in a reasonably prudent manner, and there were no circumstances that excused that behavior, then he violated his duty of care to you.
3. Did the action of the person cause harm? If your car gets hit by another car, but you aren’t hurt, there isn’t too much to sue over. Sometimes we are fortunate, and even if someone violates his duty to us, we escape without getting hurt. Unfortunately, frequently this isn’t the case.
4. Is the harm you experienced the proximate cause of the violation of the duty of care? Proximate (near) cause means that the harm suffered is a reasonably direct result of the bad conduct. For example, if someone rents a hotel room and has a heart attack because the water coming out of the tub faucet is brown, that is not a near or proximate cause of the heart attack. In that case, there would be other (prior health) reasons for the heart attack. The law won’t push things too far.
5. Was the harm you experienced reasonably foreseeable. In other words, should the person who hurt you have known that his actions could have hurt someone. For example, if a land owner doesn’t put down salt on an icy sidewalk after a snow storm, it is foreseeable that someone could slip and fall, and be injured.
Time Limits to Sue
Also, please keep in mind that each state has a statute of limitations which limits how long you have to file a lawsuit, so it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to determine if you have a case. The statute of limitations varies from state to state as well as from injury to injury. Frequently you only have a year or two to sue.
You Need a Lawyer to Handle Your Case
The explanations we provide here are just informational in nature. You cannot rely on them to establish your case. Determining if you have a valid case requires considerably more information than just basic answers to the questions listed above. The legal system is complex, so it is important that you contact a lawyer at Lowenthal & Abrams to discuss your personal injury case and your rights. A lawyer can help you navigate our extremely complex legal system and help you handle the insurance company that will become involved once you make a claim.