Kevin Etzkorn Law

Understanding the Basics of Personal Injury Claims: A Guide for Victims

When an individual experiences harm or injury as a result of the negligence or intentional actions of someone else, he or she has the right to pursue a personal injury claim. This type of claim is one that falls within the civil justice side of our legal system, as opposed to the criminal side. 

Personal injury claims often arise from car accident, truck crashes, premise liability incidents, and medical malpractice. Many times, the claims are made without a lawyer. Sometimes, lawyers are needed. Whether there is a lawyer involved or not, some injury claims can be settled and ended without a lawsuit being filed at all. 

If you have a personal injury claim, regardless of whether you have a lawyer and whether your case is in the court system, here are the basics of personal injury claims that you should understand:

Duty of Care: The first element in a personal injury claim is establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. This means the defendant had a legal obligation to act reasonably and avoid causing harm to others.

Breach of Duty: The next step is to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. This involves demonstrating that the defendant’s actions (or failure to act) fell below the standard of care expected in the given situation.

Negligence and Liability: These concepts are often used to describe a breach in the duty of care. Most personal injury claims are based on the concept of negligence, which involves proving that actions were careless or negligent. In some cases, intentional misconduct or strict liability (liability without a need to prove negligence) may apply.

Causation: It must be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. There should be a clear link between the defendant’s actions and the harm suffered by the plaintiff.

Damages: To pursue a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must have suffered actual damages. These can include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other measurable losses. In some cases, if there are actual damages proven, a plaintiff may also be able to claim punitive damages.

Statute of Limitations: There is a time limit within which a personal injury lawsuit must be filed, known as the statute of limitations. It varies by jurisdiction and the type of case, so it’s crucial to file a claim within the specified timeframe.

Insurance Coverage: In many cases, the defendant’s liability insurance will cover the damages in a personal injury claim. Dealing with insurance companies is a common part of the process, and it may involve negotiations to reach a settlement.

Consulting an Attorney: It is highly recommended for individuals involved in personal injury cases to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can provide legal advice, evaluate the strength of the case, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, represent the client in court. Contact Kevin Etzkorn Law at (314) 987-0009 to discuss your case. Understanding these basics can help individuals navigate the process of filing a personal injury claim and seek compensation for the damages they have suffered due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions.

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