After being involved in an auto accident, you may find yourself wondering if you can or should file a personal injury claim. If you are like many people, answering this question can be difficult, especially if you do not have any personal experience with this type of legal claim. Thankfully, you can get the answers you need by taking the time to ask yourself just a few simple questions regarding the facts in your case.
What Caused Your Accident And Could It Have Been Avoided?
When determining whether or not you should file a personal injury claim, determining the exact cause of your accident is extremely important. In order for you to collect compensation under personal injury laws, you will need to prove that the other party in your case is legally liable for causing your accident.
When establishing legal liability, it is important to understand that liability is not the same thing as fault. Insurance companies will typically assign fault to one or more drivers. This simply means that the driver's actions were to blame for the accident, even if these actions were unavoidable. Legal liability means that the driver acted in a careless way and that if it were not for these actions, the accident could have been avoided.
To help you better understand the difference between fault and legal liability, imagine for a moment that you were in a car crash with a drunk driver. Choosing to drink and drive is clearly a reckless decision that directly resulted in an accident that could have been avoided if the driver had chosen to remain sober or stay off the road. In this situation, the drunk driver would be legally liable for causing the accident.
Now imagine that you were in a car crash with a senior citizen who suffered a stroke behind the wheel. While the driver's stroke was the cause of the accident, the driver did not act in a negligent way and could not have prevented the accident. Therefore, while this driver will be found at fault, they will not be legally liable.
Did You Suffer Any Measurable Financial Losses?
There are two types of compensation that you can seek after being involved in an auto accident. The first type of compensation is known as compensation for real or actual damages. This is compensation that is awarded for financial losses that can be defined by a specific dollar amount. For example, automobile repair bills or medical bills will be considered real damages because the value of the loss can be measured definitively. In order to file a personal injury claim, you will need to show the presence of real damages.
The second type of compensation is known as compensation for punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to cover losses that come with a subjective value. For instance, compensation for pain and suffering will be covered under the heading of punitive damages. While you can choose to seek punitive damages in addition to real damages, you cannot file a personal injury claim based on punitive damages alone.
What Should You Do Next?
If you have determined that the facts of your case will likely support a personal injury claim, you will need to contact an injury lawyer to discuss the case. This lawyer will help you to determine how much your claim may be worth and what you will need to do in order to secure the highest possible settlement. Consider visiting http://www.hvlawfirm.com if you're looking for a reputable lawyer in your area.Share