Car Accident F.A.Q.
How do I know if I have a case?
In general, personal injury cases as a result of an auto accident need to prove four things.
1. That a legal duty existed.
2. That the defendant(s) failed to exercise that legal duty.
3. That the plaintiff(s) were injured directly or indirectly because of that breach of duty.
4. That there were damages (money lost) that can be recovered from the defendant.
If you can prove all four of these, then you may have a case. However, it is always smart to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer before proceeding with any legal actions.
What is Liability?
Liability is when someone is legally responsible to another person because of his or her actions or failure to act. In a personal injury case there may be several parties who have a certain degree of liability or responsibility for the auto accident.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is when one party is careless in its duty to someone. For example, if a landlord doesn't repair a broken step and someone slips and falls, then the landlord was negligent. He had a duty to fix the step; he didn't fix it; someone fell and suffered damages because he didn't fix it. Negligence is often part of personal injury cases.
What are Considered Damages?
Damages is the legal word for the money an injured party has lost due to an injury. Those damages could be medical bills, prescriptions, time off from work, lengthy recovery time, and also pain and suffering. Most insurance policies only cover certain parts of the cost involved in common injuries like car accidents, slip and falls or workplace illnesses. For example, they may pay the hospital, but not rehabilitation specialists. Personal injury lawyers make it their job to recover damages from all responsible parties and cover more than just medical bills, but also things like pain and suffering, emotional distress and time lost from work.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
The law limits the amount of time you can file a claim and collect damages for your auto accident. That law is called the Statute of Limitations. No matter how great your loss, you will not be able to collect if you miss this deadline. Your lawyer will know all the deadlines for your state. Putting a claim together can take time, so it's important to consult with a lawyer near you as soon as possible.