What constitutes a personal injury claim?

| Jul 14, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Accidents can happen to anybody, but every once in a while, people encounter accidents that could have been avoided. When these accidents cause harm, the victims often turn to personal injury lawsuits to help them find the funds to recover properly and get justice for their injuries. But not every injury warrants a personal injury claim.

In most cases, personal injury suits hinge on the concept of negligence.

What is negligence?

In legal circles, negligence is the “failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances.”

“Failure to exercise care toward others” – This portion of the definition is the most commonly understood part of the definition. If someone fails to exercise care toward others, they are acting in a manner that does not take someone else’s safety into consideration.

“Which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances” – This portion of the definition is the most important in a personal injury suit. By making this specification, the definition provides context to the negligent act and helps legal professionals determine whether or not someone is liable for their actions in a civil suit.

How is negligence determined legally?

Legal professionals generally use four questions to determine whether a party acted with negligence:

1. Did they have a “duty of care?”

“Duty of care” refers to the reasonable expectation that someone should be care about another person’s safety. For instance, if someone has a dog, they have a duty of care to make sure it does not bite people.

2. Did they breach that duty?

In the example of the dog, did the owner let the dog off the leash? Did the dog get out because they failed to maintain their fence properly? Did they know the dog was loose in the first place?

The second part of the legal definition of negligence comes into play here. Would a reasonable person have let their dog off the leash in a crowded park?

3. Did that breach cause harm?

Legal professionals have to make a relatively direct connection between the offending party’s actions and the victim’s injuries. For example, someone runs a red light and crashes into a bicyclist. The crash is a direct cause of those injuries. If the bicyclist got scared by the car and crashes into a pedestrian, the initial driver’s negligent action is not directly responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries.

4. Can that harm be translated into damages?

Finally, personal injury attorneys have to determine if the victim suffered real harm and whether that harm can be compensated. In the example of the dog bite, the victim required stitches in their hand and had to take time off of work until they healed. The cost of the medical procedure and the lost wages from missing work provide concrete numbers for damages. The victim’s lawyer could use evidence like pay stubs and the hospital bill to verify the amount.

Discuss your situation with a professional

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, discuss your case with a lawyer. An experienced personal injury attorney can walk through the four above criteria with you and help you determine whether you have a legitimate claim.

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Case Results

$10,000,000 – Birth injury Medical malpractice case for newborn’s disabilities

$7,200,000 – Prison Medical Malpractice Failure to treat and diagnose an infection causing multiple organ failure and blood circulation. Such required both legs and both hands to be amputated.

$3,400,000 – Car accident Auto collision case (details are confidential)

$2,700,000 – Brain injury Failure to timely treat headaches resulted in brain injury, memory loss and ability to ambulate.

$2,500,000 –  Medical malpractice Death from a Maui medical facility’s delayed treatment of heart attack symptoms

$10,000,000 –  Birth injury Medical malpractice case for newborn’s disabilities

$7,200,000 – Prison Medical Malpractice Failure to treat and diagnose an infection causing multiple organ failure and blood circulation. Such required both legs and both hands to be amputated.

$3,400,000 – Car accident Auto collision case (details are confidential)

$2,700,000 – Brain injury Failure to timely treat headaches resulted in brain injury, memory loss and ability to ambulate.

$2,500,000 –  Medical malpractice Death from a Maui medical facility’s delayed treatment of heart attack symptoms

$2,500,000 –  Medical malpractice Settlement for the family of a man who died from a reaction to the wrong drug

$2,200,000 –  Catastrophic injury Negligence leading to disabling back and neck injury

$1,625,000 – Ship Worker Injury to a ship worker, who suffered serious permanent injuries. Details are confidential.

$1,600,000 –  Medical Malpractice Medical negligence for a delayed diagnosis of cancer

$1,500,000 –   Whale Watch Passenger For injuries suffered to whale watch vessel passenger

$1,000,000 –  Failure To Diagnose Colon Cancer Failure to perform diagnostic tests for colon cancer by a primary care physician.

$1,000,000 –  Misdiagnosis Policy Limits For misdiagnosis of lupus of a woman that resulted in kidney failure.

$1,625,000 – Ship Worker Injury to a ship worker, who suffered serious permanent injuries. Details are confidential.

$1,000,000 –  Motorcycle Collision Policy Limits Automobile turned left in front of motorcycle, causing death.

$1,000,000 – Medical Malpractice Policy Limits Malpractice of a physician who delayed a diagnosis of colon cancer.

$9,500,000 – Auto Accident Client suffered back and neck injuries from a rear end collision.

$800,000 –  Medical Malpractice for an older gentleman who was not given a test for prostate cancer, resulting in undiagnosed metastasized terminal cancer.

$600,000 –  Golf Cart Collision Our client suffered serious back injuries

$500,000 –  Pedestrian Hit By Auto Underinsured Motorist Policy Our client was on the curb when a car hit her.

$443,000 –  Defective Rental Car Judgment entered by a Maui court after a nearly 3 week trial of our client who suffered a knee injury when the rental van seat was not properly attached to the floor.

$375,000 – Dram Shop (Liquor Service) Liability Our client was hit by a person, served excess alcohol.

$375,000 –  Night Club Beating Our client was illegally assaulted

$275,000 –  Slip & Fall On Premises A slip and fall case on a Chinatown sidewalk that the City has a duty to maintain, but outside a restaurant, who did regularly maintain the area. The City and restaurant were both liable.