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October 18, 2017

How to Know If You Have a Real Personal Injury Case

Before you rush to call a personal injury lawyer, you could save yourself significant time and possibly money by determining if you have a real personal injury case. Not every injury can be pursued in court. Conversely, if you know you have a legitimate case, you can start collecting information now to make that case easier to pursue. Here is how you know if you have a valid personal injury case.

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The Damages Done

Is the damage a personal injury? Personal injury lawyers Toronto can only help you if there is both personal harm of some sort, whether or not there is property damaged, and it also needs to be significant harm. A fender bender without any lost time from work or physical and emotional impact for anyone involved isn’t a personal injury. If someone broke a bone or received a concussion, then it is a personal injury case.

If you only have property damage, that’s not a personal injury case but one for the small claims court or a dispute with the insurance company.

Personal injury attorneys cannot take cases where someone is suing your business for failure to deliver on a contract. They can sue you for damaging a product you shipped to them that injured them. While you could sue someone for defamation or fraud, that is not a personal injury case.

The Type of Damage

Recoverable damages include, but are not limited to, medical costs, lost income because you were away from work due to the accident, lost earning capacity due to disability, and repair or replacement of property. In some cases, emotional distress and loss of enjoyment may be recoverable. Punitive damages may be an option, if the defendant was reckless or malicious. You cannot file for a personal injury case if you do not have recoverable damages of one of these types. 

Pursuing a case for emotional distress or loss of enjoyment alone is unlikely to succeed unless accompanied by another type of damage. For example, suing for emotional distress because you’ve suffered PTSD from an assault or car wreck is reasonable. Suing for personal injury because someone said something distressing or humiliating isn’t a personal injury case.

The Responsible Party

Personal injury cases hinge on making the responsible party pay for your losses and damages. If you run into a tree, it is likely your fault unless another responsible party is identified. If the accident occurred because someone maliciously tampered with your vehicle, the car parts necessary to travel safely failed due to a defect or another party created dangerous road conditions, then you have a personal injury case. If a nursing home doesn’t provide proper care for an elderly person who develops an infection, they are negligent. If someone intentionally injures themselves or is hurt by engaging in what is knowingly risky, it is their own fault. Note that personal injury lawyers can take cases where it is the fault of multiple parties, including you, and they can help you if you are partially to blame but the main responsibility lies elsewhere.

If you are injured while intentionally violating safety procedures at work or horse-playing voluntarily with friends, you are the responsible party. You are the one responsible for your injuries. You can try to prove someone or something else is to blame, but now you and your attorney would have to have significant proof of the other person’s negligence.

If you were injured as a result of a natural disaster, unless someone negligently designed the building in such a way that the roof collapsed on you, you cannot sue for damages.

Before you file a personal injury claim, you have to know if you have a real case on your hands in the first place. Personal injury cases require a real type of personal injury. The type of damage done must be recoverable and there must be someone other than you who is responsible for the injury, though courts do handle cases where it is partially your fault and mostly someone else’s. So make sure your case fits all these criteria before you even think about seeking representation.


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