Whether you have been in a car wreck, suffered from medical malpractice or in some other way been injured, you may be wondering if you have a case. Thousands of personal injury lawsuits are filed every year and, unfortunately, many are lost. That’s because the plaintiff — the person who filed the suit — and their attorney did not fully understand the situation. This can lead to frustration, heartache and sunken financial costs. Even if your attorney doesn’t charge, since you didn’t win your case, you may still be responsible for court fees and other expenses.
It’s important to only file a case if you have a great chance of winning. Usually, your attorney will conduct a thorough evaluation of your case before taking it on. While your attorney is the expert in these matters, you can also ponder a few questions about your case yourself. Being unsure about the answers to these questions shouldn’t deter you from bringing your case to your lawyer. However, being able to answer them may make your initial consultation much simpler.
Being in a car wreck doesn’t automatically entitle you to compensation, at least not for personal injury. In every personal injury case, you have to be able to prove that harm was actually done. For a stronger case, you should be able to prove the injury done had a direct impact on your life and finances. So how can you prove this? The best way is to keep a record of every single bill and other financial documents to show how much your injury has impacted you. This includes medical bills, pay stubs showing loss of income and other evidence.
Of course, physical harm is not the only kind of injury you may sustain. Mental or emotional anguish may also be a factor in your case. However, this can be much more difficult to prove. After all, you can’t point to an x-ray and say, “There’s my emotional distress.” There are a few ways to prove your non-physical injuries, including physical side effects of distress (like ulcers), a doctor’s note, a proof of intensity and duration and evidence of an underlying cause. For example, have post-traumatic stress disorder after a botched surgery may be easier to prove than emotional distress after a minor fender-bender.
Most often when there is talk of someone owing us a “duty” when it comes to personal injury, it is related to a doctor’s standard of care. In a medical malpractice case, you must be able to prove that a doctor breached their duty by not living up to their standard of care. This form of negligence is perhaps the most vital puzzle piece in a medical malpractice injury case. However, duty being owed to you must be proved in every form of personal injury.
Luckily, this is often not that hard. One of the most common types of personal injury cases involves automobile accidents. Whenever a driver gets on the road, they have a duty to other motorists. It’s an often unwritten contract agreed upon when you get your license. You have a duty to both other drivers and pedestrians that you will do everything you can not to injure them. However, there are some accidents, such as those caused by road conditions, where that duty was not breached by the offending driver. Your attorney will review the facts of your personal injury case to determine whether duty was breached.
Every state has a law known as the statute of limitations. This sets rules limiting the amount of time you can wait to file a personal injury lawsuit. In California, you have two years to file a lawsuit. This includes all forms of personal injury, including wrongful death. However, there are many different exceptions to this rule that may apply to your case.
For instance, if the injured person is under 18 years old, the clock doesn’t start running until they become a legal adult (or are legally emancipated). Another common occurrence is that the injury was not realized until later on, or it was not realized that negligence caused a wrongful death. Even if the statute of limitations has run out, speak with your attorney about your case. There may still be a chance to get compensation.
Perhaps the most important factor in any personal injury lawsuit is to have an attorney who has experience with even the most difficult of cases. At Ernst Law Group, we have decades of combined experience, working just about every kind of personal injury case imaginable in San Luis Obispo. Our attorneys treat every case with personal care, making sure you are getting the representation you deserve. Whether your case is settled out of court or decided upon by a jury, you can trust us to make sure you get the best outcome possible.
If you’ve been injured in San Luis Obispo, don’t wait. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.