How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Case?
As we review the events in our mind and watch the bills pile up, we may also wonder if what happened was just bad luck or the grounds for a personal injury case. Personal injury is an area of civil law where the plaintiff (injured party) sues the defendant (either another person or a corporate entity) that they believe to be responsible for their injuries in order to recover their financial losses.
As the saying goes, sometimes bad things happen to good people. When serious injuries happen to us or a loved one, we often go beyond asking, “Why me?” to wondering, “How?”
The Six Elements of a Personal Injury Case
Recovering from injuries, especially if they are serious, can be challenging and stressful for you and your family. It may be difficult to think clearly and calmly. However, it is important to understand that the seriousness of the injuries in and of themselves are not necessarily grounds for a case. If you believe your bodily injuries were caused by the negligence of another, you will have to clearly demonstrate to the court that the following six elements are present.
In order to effectively illustrate the six elements, we will use the following example: Jacob was texting while driving and drove through a school zone too quickly. Since he was both distracted and speeding, his car hit Emily, a young mother taking her children to school. Her injuries were extensive and she spent months in the hospital recovering.
The defendant (Jacob) had a responsibility to behave, or not behave, in a certain way. In this case, he had a duty to drive the slower speed limit in a designated school zone and he had the duty to not drive while distracted by his phone.
Breach of Duty
This is easily confused with duty itself. To put it simply, duty is what the defendant should have done right and breach of duty is what the defendant did wrong. While Jacob’s duty was to drive the speed limit and not engage in distracted driving, his breach of duty was his decision to speed and text while driving.
Cause in Fact
It its simplest terms, Cause in Fact is proving that the plaintiff’s injuries were, “in fact,” caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. In our case, Jacob would not have hit Emily if he was not texting. To add another layer, her injuries would not have been as severe if he was driving the speed limit.
This element is key. In order for there to be a civil case, there must be actual harm to the plaintiff that the system is able to compensate for financially. Without this, there is no case. When awarding you a sum of money in a personal injury case, the court may take into account any or all of the following:
- Medical bills
- Pain and/or suffering caused by your injuries
- Lost wages incurred as a direct result of your injuries and recovery
- Reduced earning capacity
- Physical impairment
- Statute of Limitations
In general terms, in Texas the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years from the date of injury. Since time is an important and defining factor, it is important to seek legal advice as quickly as possible after you become injured.
Being injured is both a physically and emotionally challenging experience. It may be difficult to sort out the events that caused the injuries, keep track of bills, and focus on recuperating at the same time. It is both reasonable and practical to seek out legal support from a trusted attorney without delay.
At GreeningLaw P.C., we appreciate that money is especially tight when recovering from an injury, therefore, our lawyers only work on a contingency basis, meaning that we only charge you an attorney’s fee if you are compensated for your case.
Our attorneys are experts who care. We treat your case with the thoroughness and respect we would give to members of our own families. Contact us for a free consultation. We will review the elements of your case, discuss the possible compensation you may receive, and suggest the best course of action.
Let one of the most trusted law firms in the state take care of you. “We fight the legal battle, so you have time for healing and renewal.”