If you’ve been injured in an accident, you might be wondering if it’s worth it to file a lawsuit. Though the public conception is that personal injury lawsuits are long, drawn-out, complicated affairs, they’re much more approachable if you have the right legal team working for you. The most qualified, experienced lawyers, will work on your behalf to do most of the work necessary to prepare your case, and in many cases, you may not even go to trial.
But how can you tell if your personal injury is sufficient to warrant a lawsuit in the first place?
Types of Personal Injury Claims
These are some of the most common categories of personal injury claims. If your injury falls into one of these categories, there’s a strong possibility you’ll have a case.
- Car accidents. One of the most common personal injuries to show up in courtrooms are injuries related to a vehicular accident where one party is at fault. For example, if a negligent driver struck you, as a pedestrian or in a vehicle of your own, they may be responsible for any kind of injury you suffer, whether it’s a severe spinal cord injury or a broken arm.
- Slip and fall claims. Slip and fall claims are also common. These claims often fall under the umbrella of premises liability; if a store fails to caution customers that a floor is wet, or if a business fails to keep their sidewalks clear in the winter, someone may slip and fall. If they do, they may be able to file suit. Slip and fall claims may also be directed toward homeowners.
- Dog bites. Dog bites, along with any other type of animal bit, could also be grounds for a personal injury suit. Pet owners are typically responsible for any actions or damages caused by their pets, regardless of the circumstances.
- Medical malpractice. Though medical malpractice is its own specialty field, in most cases, it can be considered under the umbrella of personal injury. If a surgeon makes a mistake during surgery, or if a doctor gives you bad advice that leads to an injury or complication, it may be in your best interest to sue.
- Defective products. Defective products are another promising opportunity for personal injury suits. In these cases, a product may have inherent design flaws that make it unsafe for its intended use, or a batch of a specific product may be left with flaws that make it likely to cause physical injury. In either case, the liability is either on the designing company or the manufacturer to make things right.
- Workplace accidents. All workplace injuries are covered under workers’ compensation by default, no matter who’s at fault. However, if you suffered a workplace injury as the result of someone else’s intentions or negligence, you may have legal precedent to seek further damages.
However, even if you don’t fall into one of these categories, a lawsuit may still be possible.
Factors to Consider
There are also some peripheral factors that should influence your decision, including:
- Injury severity. You may be able to sue no matter what the severity of your injury is, so long as it cost you some amount of money, pain, or stress. However, for lesser injuries, it may not be worth the time or money to pursue a lawsuit. For example, breaking a bone in a car accident with a drunk driver is much more severe than getting a paper cut at the post office.
- Costs. Consider what the costs of the incident were. Were you forced to seek medical help? Do you have lots of unpaid medical bills? The greater the costs, the more you should consider filing suit.
- Income and time losses. Also consider any lost time or income due to your injury. If you were or are out of work for an extended period of time, you may be able to recover those lost wages.
- Psychological distress. If you experienced psychological distress while experiencing or recovering from the injury, you may also have grounds for a suit. For example, traumatic injuries can create lasting psychological damage, which the guilty party may be responsible for compensating.
Consulting an Expert
These general tips should help you better understand personal injury lawsuits, and whether it’s worth it to pursue one in your case, but shouldn’t be taken as legal advice. If you want a solid answer, the best thing to do is talk to a personal injury attorney, who will be able to tell you, definitively, whether you have a case and what your chances are of winning. And since many lawyers offer a free initial consultation, it’s almost always in your best interest to reach out and learn more.