You’ve been in a serious accident that wasn’t your fault and now you can’t work. Or perhaps you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. Either way, bills are piling up and you’re not sure what to do. Your friends and family might be saying that you should pursue a personal injury claim, but there’s conflicting information about the process and you don’t know what to believe. You might be feeling overwhelmed or unsure if a personal injury suit is possible in your situation. Here are three things to consider if you’re wondering if you have a personal injury claim:
- You must have personal injury– not just property damage. Personal injury is defined as injury to a person’s body, mind or emotions. In order to have a viable personal injury claim, you must have suffered serious physical injury and/or emotional distress. While it’s certainly financially devastating to have your vehicle totaled or otherwise suffer the loss of valued personal property, personal injury suits are meant to help those who have suffered debilitating personal injuries that prevent them from going to work for an extended period of time or cause disfigurement, disability or death.
- You must be able to show negligence. Accidents happen and sometimes it’s difficult to determine fault. This is where having a skilled attorney on your side is really useful. If you were badly injured in an accident but can’t prove that the other driver was at least 50% negligent (for, example, texting while driving, driving under the influence or driving in a reckless manner,) it will be difficult to prevail in a personal injury suit. But keep in mind, that in Indiana, you can still receive compensation even if the accident was partially your fault.
- You must have recoverable damages. In order to have a viable personal injury claim, you must be able to prove that you were in fact seriously injured. Serious injuries are proven through medical bills. Recovering medical costs is only part of what you are entitled to recover as a victim of someone else’s negligence. You can also recover money for lost wages, pain and suffering. These are called compensatory damages. In cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages may also enter the equation. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages at the court’s discretion as punishment when the defendant’s behavior is considered to have been especially harmful.
Personal injury lawsuits shouldn’t be taken lightly. They take time and money to pursue. However, if another person’s negligence has caused you to be seriously injured in an accident, or lost a loved, you should strongly consider seeking justice and compensation. Most personal injury attorneys will give you a free consultation and let you know if they think you have a case. Make sure you do a little research first and check out their references from previous clients to be sure you’re working with someone you trust. You’ll most likely only have one opportunity to present your case, so it’s important to choose wisely.
Zach Miller is a private practice attorney in Brownstown, Indiana who serves southwestern and central Indiana communities including Indianapolis, Seymour, Bloomington, Columbus and Jeffersonville. Zach specializes in personal injury law, but also serves clients in other areas, including criminal law, family law, probate law, business litigation, real estate law and general legal counsel. Keep up with the latest news from Zach by subscribing to his newsletter
Zach prides himself on creating personal relationships with his clients and delivering one-on-one service. He lives and works in the community he serves.