Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
Generally, three things need to be present in order for a plaintiff to "win" a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
"Simply stated, you have a personal injury case if you were injured and another person or entity was negligent for causing your injury."
- Renée J. Nordstrand
First, there must have been negligence. But what qualifies as negligence? An obvious example might be the driver who runs a red light and injures or kills someone - with the whole scene caught on videotape. However, most cases are not so simple and clear cut. There are also cases that at first glance, seem to be sure things but where there is really no case at all.
The most common example of this might be the person who uses a product in a completely unforeseeable way and is injured as a result. In that scenario, the product manufacturer would not be liable even though their product clearly caused injury.
Second, there must be some type of compensable harm. In practical terms, this means more than just hurt feelings. However, it also means more than just physical injuries and financial harm. Other types of loss can be compensated as well.
The third requirement is causation. If established, the link between the negligent act and the harm caused allows the court to impose legal liability on the defendant.
After an Accident in Santa Barbara: Do's and Don't's
After an accident, it is very important that you seek appropriate medical care and that you follow through on any treatment the physician recommends. If you do not and if you need to take legal action later on, it can become very difficult to establish the required element of harm.
It is also important to point out the fact that you do not need to be certain you have a case in order to benefit from contacting an attorney immediately. At a minimum, this can protect you from being taken advantage of by the insurance company. And, even if it turns out there is no legal cause of action for you to pursue, seeking out the advice of an experienced attorney can help you gain some sense of closure and allow you to focus your time and energies in more productive ways.
For more information, see:
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Our law firm handles personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Santa Barbara and all areas of Southern California. To talk with an experienced lawyer and receive a free case evaluation - call our offices directly or, contact us online.
There is no obligation to hire us. There are no legal fees to pay unless we win.