How do I know if I should pursue a personal injury claim?
Personal injuries cases can be tricky at times, which unfortunately leads to many people giving up on pursuing them. This also means that many people go without receiving the compensation that they deserve. Rather, they suffer through medical, social and mental health consequences on their own when they could have had significant monetary help. More often than not people do not pursue personal injury claims out of either fear of not succeeding or a lack of information on what they can and cannot do.
Why People Do Not Pursue Personal Injury Claims
The top two reasons why people do not pursue personal injury claims that they rightfully deserve are not knowing that they have a case that they can pursue and being afraid that their case will go nowhere. Even if a person has no legal background, there are plenty of resources available regarding New York law which state, which claims can, and cannot be pursued. An accident lawyer in New York will also be able to answer those questions, and often provide consultation for little or no charge. As for fear of not winning a case, most accident lawyers in New York charge a fee based off of what the plaintiff earns. Therefore, there is virtually no harm in pursuing a case.
Personal Injury Claim Basics
The main factor in any personal injury case is that one person (or business) acts in a way, either purposeful or negligently, that causes direct harm to another person. Besides the act of one person causing direct harm to another, fault must be proven in a personal injury case. As long as the victim is not wholly at fault for their injury, they can make a case. Dave Goguen, J.D. explains these concepts in greater detail.
The defendant in any personal injury case may or may not be completely at fault. Basically, as long as they act in a way, intentionally or negligently, that caused harm to another, they can be held at fault. That being said, the victim may also be held partially at fault depending upon their actions. A claim will not be dismissed if the victim is held partially at fault. Rather, this only means that the case may be slightly harder to prove. The compensation could also be lower depending upon the exact amount of fault. For example, storeowners are required to give “fair warning” of dangerous conditions (i.e. a “wet floor” sign). Not displaying one of these would put the owner at fault. However, a customer who clearly sees that the floor is wet but choosing to walk over it anyway would be held partially at fault. If they did not see that the floor was wet, they would not be held at fault.
Case preparation is also a major factor in deciding whether or not to pursue a personal injury claim. First, gathering evidence is a great step to take in making this decision. Once the victim has pictures, videos, witnesses, medical reports, etc. it is easier to determine the best decision. Second, mental preparation (being able to recall the event without it being too traumatic) is also important in this decision making process.
Reasons to Pursue
One final factor to consider in making this decision is whether or not there is a reason to pursue this case. Cases are less likely to be successful is there is no legitimate reason or need for the claim. Some reasons that people need to pursue personal injury claims include medical expenses, lost wages or work ability, need for future treatment (physical or mental), emotional trauma, prevention of future incidents (to protect oneself or others), and more.
Do you have a personal injury claim and are unsure whether or not to pursue? Contact an accident lawyer in New York for a consultation and find out what your next step should be.