Many people have heard the term personal injury but do not know what a personal injury case really is. Knowing when a personal injury has occurred, when you have a case to make, and how to create a strong case can help you if you are ever injured in an accident. Ask yourself these questions if you believe that you may have a personal injury case.
- Did Injuries Occur?
Personal injury cases start with injuries. The more serious the injury, the stronger the case and the more compensation you are likely to win in court. Often, people who win personal injury cases suffer from disabling and disfiguring injuries. If you have been injured and you think you might have a personal injury claim, see a physician as soon as possible.
- Do You Have Supporting Medical Documents?
Failure to see a physician quickly will weaken your case and may lead to losses in court in two ways.
First, the other party may be able to claim that your injury was not as serious as you try to make it sound. After all, a serious injury usually sends a person to the doctor right away.
Second, the other party may be able to claim that the incident in question is not the origin of your injuries. When you see the doctor soon after a personal injury takes place, the doctor will be able to certify that your injuries are recent and serious.
Many people who fail to see the doctor soon after their personal injury occurs say they do not notice symptoms at first. Some conditions (like whiplash) do not show symptoms until some time has passed. For this reason, many attorneys recommend that clients see the doctor soon after an accident even if no injury seems to have occurred.
- What Were the Financial Damages?
Personal injury cases hinge on damages. The term damages refers to losses related to the accident, usually economic losses like lost wages or money spent on medical bills. Other financial damages include:
- Reduced capacity to earn money. This financial burden occurs when you are no longer able to do your old job and must find a different job that does not pay as well.
- Need to retrain. This happens if your injuries require you to relearn basic everyday tasks.
- Disability accommodations. If you have a disability because your accident, you may require costly accommodations at your home.
Sometimes damages can be hard to pin down or assign a monetary value. For example, some damages may have more to do with pain and suffering or emotional damage. Getting an award for something that has a monetary value can be straightforward, but awards for emotional damages or pain and suffering can be a little harder. Working with an attorney can help with this.
If you suffer from emotional damages, you can make your case in court by keeping a record of behaviors and symptoms, either in a diary or through medical notes from professionals. Work with a lawyer to determine the amount of your damages, economic and otherwise.
- What Is the Severity of the Damages?
Severity of the damages, whether they are easy to quantify or not, makes a difference. Big damages can make for a stronger case and may make the case easier to win. In addition, courts often will not award money for emotional damages unless they are extensive. This is another reason why good documentation is very important when trying to claim emotional damages.
- Who Was at Fault?
Someone or some entity must have fault in your case. This does not have to be a single person but can also be a company or an organization. For example, if your car had defective parts that caused an accident, the car company may be at fault for your accident.
You might be surprised to learn that in Illinois, you may be partly responsible for your own personal injury case and still win some money. As long as the court finds you to be only partly responsible, and your portion of responsibility is less than 50%, you may be able to collect damages. Your lawyer will help you make your case to show your percentage of the responsibility.
Your awards will be proportionate to your level of responsibility for the accident. For example, if you are found to be 20% responsible for the accident that caused your personal injury, you may still be able to recover 80% of the damages.
Have More Questions?
If you still have questions about your personal injury case, contact a professional with a reputation for excellence. At Shay & Associates Law Firm, we are happy to answer your questions. Call us today for a free consultation about your case at either of our two locations in Springfield and Decatur.