How Do You Know If You Have a Personal Injury Case?
Posted in Personal Injury on March 20, 2019
In Missouri, civil law permits victims of personal injury accidents to file legal actions in pursuit of compensation for their damages from an at-fault party. If someone else caused your recent injuries, you may have the right to demand fair and full compensation for your losses. You will only have grounds for a claim, however, if you have certain elements.
If you want to talk about a specific incident, contact our Kansas City personal injury lawyers now.
First, you must have suffered real, compensable damages in the incident. The courts will not hear your case if the accident did not inflict damages for which it permits you to receive compensation from the defendant. Losses can vary from case to case, but generally must include at least one compensable damage type.
- Physical injuries
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
Your lawyer will have to prove the existence of real damage, either through medical records, bills, or other forms of evidence. Your lawyer will also assess your damages and calculate an accurate value for your claim. This amount is what you and your attorney will demand the defendant pay during claim negotiations.
Duty and Breach of Duty
Then, your lawyer will need to demonstrate that the defendant owed you a definable duty of care and that he or she breached this duty through some act or omission. A duty of care is one party’s lawful responsibilities to another based on the circumstances. A doctor, for example, has a duty of care to provide proper patient care according to the patient’s best interests. Identifying the defendant’s duty of care to you is one of the first steps toward proving your claim.
Your lawyer must show through a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant breached his or her duty of care to you. A breach of duty can be any act or failure to act that a reasonable and prudent party would not have committed in the same situation. Another word for a breach of duty is negligence. Your lawyer will need evidence of the defendant’s negligence, such as expert witness testimony or eyewitness reports. If the defendant did not owe you a duty of care or did not breach this duty, you likely would not have a personal injury case.
Finally, your lawyer will need to prove a causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and your damages. The defendant’s negligence must have directly or indirectly caused the accident and your injuries. For example, a driver’s reckless decision to drink and drive must be the proximate cause of your car accident and related injuries. If something else caused the car accident, such as bad brakes, you may not have a case against the driver – even if you have proof of his or her drunkenness. The defendant must be responsible for the main thing that caused your accident.
An Attorney Can Help With the Burden of Proof
The burden to prove a case always falls on the plaintiff, or injured party, in Missouri. As a plaintiff, you have the option to hire an attorney to represent your case. An attorney can help you with your burden of proof, from investigating your case and gathering evidence to presenting your argument before a judge or jury. Personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to build a strong case against the defendant and to argue for fair compensation on your behalf.
If you want to find out if your recent accident and injuries are enough for a personal injury case in Kansas City, discuss your situation with an attorney. Many lawyers offer free, no-obligation consultations, so you can get answers to your questions at no financial risk. You and an attorney can discuss the details of your accident, evaluate your injuries, and decide whether you have the elements of a successful personal injury claim. If so, your lawyer can take care of the claims filing process for you.