Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?

October 31, 2016

If you find yourself wondering if you have a case, chances are, something horrible happened, and you’re looking to put the pieces back together. If you’re looking for financial compensation and to obtain justice, the first step is to determine whether a case exists. A formal personal injury case typically starts when a private individual (the “plaintiff”) files a civil “complaint” against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the “defendant”), alleging that they acted carelessly or irresponsibly in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm.

Below are three questions you should ask to help you determine if a case may exist.

1. Did you suffer a personal injury?

2. Were your injuries caused by the negligence of others?

3. Do you have recoverable damages?

If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, you should contact our personal injury attorneys immediately. The sooner we are able to assess a case and begin collecting evidence, the stronger the case may be. Not every case will be a valid personal injury case. Sometimes, even when someone is badly injured, there isn’t anyone to hold accountable. Nevertheless, you should make an insurance claim.

1. Did you suffer a personal injury?

To initiate a personal injury lawsuit, you must have suffered a personal injury. A personal injury is a physical or psychological injury inflicted on a person’s mind, body, or emotions, as opposed to damage to property. In other words, if you are involved in a minor car collision and your car gets wrecked, that is property damage, and you should file an insurance claim. If you slip and fall at a store and bump your head resulting in a severe head trauma, that is a personal injury. However, a personal injury does not always equate to a personal injury lawsuit. You must prove that your injury was due to the negligence of others.

2. Were your injuries caused by the negligence of others?

If you slip and fall at the store and hurt your head, you must now determine the cause of the fall. If you fell because you are clumsy, you can’t pin your behavior on the store. If you fell because the floor was recently mopped and there was no sign to alert you then you may have a case. Negligence occurs when someone or an entity acts in a careless manner, resulting in an injury. Once you have determined that you have a personal injury and it due to the negligence of others, you have to determine what, if any, are your recoverable damages.

A successful personal injury case must establish that the defendant (entity responsible for personal injury) acted negligently by proving the following:

  • Duty: the defendant had a legal duty to behave a certain way
  • Breach: the defendant breached that duty by acting or failing to act a certain way.
  • Causation: failed action or action from defendant caused the personal injury.
  • Damages: harm was caused as a result of those actions or inaction and money can remedy said injury.

Photo: at the imaginary example above of a slip and fall event in a store:

Darcy is shopping at the store, and as she heads down aisle four, she slips and falls, knocking herself unconscious. Five minutes before the fall, Kevin, the store clerk, was cleaning up a liquid detergent spill in aisle four. He mopped it up but failed to post a sign that the floor may be slick from the water or soap. As a result of the fall, Darcy suffers frequent migraines and mild amnesia. Darcy sues the store and wins because her attorney is able to prove:

  • Duty: the store has a duty to keep the floor clean and display proper signage when appropriate.
  • Breach: The store breached that duty by failing to post a sign.
  • Causation: Darcy slipped due to her lack of awareness of the spill and poor clean-up.
  • Damages: Darcy was seriously injured and requires expensive therapy and can no longer work. The money she would receive from a settlement would enable her to get her treatment and live comfortably.

3. Do you have recoverable damages?

In order to have a personal injury lawsuit, you must have suffered financial harm due to your injury that can be remedied with money. Examples of this include: medical bills, physical pain, lost wages, reduced overall income, disability accommodations, diminished quality of life and loss of companionship.

Ready to file a personal injury lawsuit?

Call or e-mail the Cleveland, Ohio personal injury attorneys of Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA, to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.


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 *Every case has unique circumstances and requires a personal consultation with a personal injury attorney. Nothing on this web site constitutes legal advice. Contact us for actual legal advice.

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