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If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries and/or economic losses from a specific event, you may wonder whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit to recover your damages. You should take several steps to determine whether you can file a personal injury claim.
Personal injury lawsuits exist to make victims “whole” again after suffering injuries and other damages due to the negligence of another party. If no damage occurs, no grounds for a claim exist. Additionally, if the damages you sustained were minimal, it may not be worth the expense to pursue a lawsuit for a minimal payout. To determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, gather all documentation that proves the extent of your losses.
Contacting an Orange County personal injury attorney and scheduling a consultation can help you better understand the scope of your damages. For example, if you suffered an injury that required hospitalization, you may know that you can claim your hospital bills, but an attorney can uncover additional avenues of compensation such as your long-term medical complications resulting from negligence, pain and suffering, and time you missed from work recovering from your injury.
Once you have confirmed that you have indeed suffered measurable losses, you must determine who is responsible for those damages. This is easier in some cases than in others. For example, if you suffered injuries in a car accident with a drunk driver, then the drunk driver is obviously responsible for your damages. However, if you developed a disability due to toxic exposure, it can take time to determine the root cause of the exposure and the party responsible.
“Negligence” is the legal term for one party’s failure to meet an acceptable standard of care in a given situation. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to others on the road to operate their vehicles responsibly and obey the traffic laws. A plaintiff must prove four elements of negligence to succeed with a personal injury lawsuit.
Remember: a plaintiff must not only prove that he or she suffered damages, but also provide evidence of the extent of those damages. This is partly why it is so important to hire a personal injury attorney to handle a personal injury claim. A good attorney can help a client maximize his or her recovery after a personal injury and find additional avenues of compensation the plaintiff may have missed on his or her own.
Many personal injury attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement as it helps the attorney attract new clients while offering prospective clients the opportunity to better understand their legal rights and options. If a personal injury attorney offers free consultations, compile a list of questions to ask the attorney so you can gauge his or her overall experience level and familiarity with the area of law that pertains to your case.
If you suffered a personal injury of some kind and the injury resulted from the negligence of another party, you likely have the right to file a personal injury claim and recover your damages. If you are unsure about your right to file a lawsuit, reach out to a personal injury attorney and schedule a consultation.