Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
If you were injured in an accident, slipped and fell at work, or even bitten by a dog, you may have a case for a personal injury claim. Generally, four things need to be present in order for a plaintiff to "win" a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit: duty, negligence, causation, compensable harm.
"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, the wrongdoer must have a duty. Second, 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 there really is 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. That is because the manufacturer does not have a duty to anticipate people using the product in an unforeseeable way.
Third, there must be some type of compensable harm. In practical terms, this means there must be some form of money damages for you to recoup. If you were rear-ended in traffic, but there is no damage to your vehicle or physical harm done to you or your passengers, then it may be hard to establish a case. However, compensable harm also means more than just physical injuries and financial harm. Other types of loss can be compensated as well, including damages to one’s way of life, mental health, and career.
The final requirement is causation. Plainly put, causation is when one action causes another. If an attorney can establish that a negligent action, such as driving while texting, harmed or killed an individual, the court or jury can find the defendant legally liable for all related damages.
Uncovering and confirming duty, negligence, compensable harm, and causation can be a slow and steady process, and our firm has the resources and patience to help you build a case.
After an Accident in Santa Barbara: Do's and Don't's
First and foremost, if you are in an accident, your immediate well-being should be top priority. You should seek immediate medical care and follow through on any treatment the physician recommends. Not only is it important to catch any trauma or injuries early on in the healing process, you may also establish a baseline for how badly you were injured after an accident. 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.
Once your physical well-being is taken care of, it is important to talk to an attorney who has experience with personal injury lawsuits. Most law firms, like our own, offer free consultations. This gives you a chance to get some knowledge regarding specialty medical providers you might need to see, have of your questions answered, and get a clearer idea of what your rights and options are. Altogether our firm has over 75 years of experience handling a variety of personal injury cases and our case results and client testimonials speak for themselves. We have the care, patience, and knowledge to help guide you through the claims process and court system.
"An experienced lawyer will investigate and determine relevant facts so that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries and your suffering."
- Doug Black
While you may feel nervous about contacting a lawyer, you do not need to be certain you have a case in order to benefit from contacting an attorney immediately; NordstrandBlack PC will put you at ease. 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.
Having said all of that, we would be happy to talk to you about your case. There is no obligation to hire us. There are no legal fees to pay until we win.
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Santa Barbara: (805) 962-2022
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.