Personal injury claims are legal requests made by victims who suffer injuries and damages due to the negligent and wrongful acts of others. Following a preventable accident, victims have the right to pursue a monetary recovery of their damages by filing an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. For example, if a negligent driver caused your car accident and you suffered injuries in that crash, you would file a personal injury claim and attempt to resolve the claim through a settlement without a lawsuit being filed.
Because personal injury claims may result in the filing of civil lawsuits, such as when insurance companies dispute claims, fault, and liability, it is important that any personal injury claim have merits that will stand up to the legal elements required of a civil lawsuit.
At Sacks Weston LLC, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers have leveraged decades of combined experience to guide the injured and the wronged through their unique legal journeys. While every case is different, all matters begin with in-depth evaluations to determine if there are grounds to bring legal action. In the context of car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injury cases based on negligence, we focus on reviewing cases with the following essential legal elements in mind:
- A legal duty existed – In order for a claim to have merit, a legal duty must have existed between the victim and the defendant that would require the defendant to act in a reasonable manner to reduce risks of preventable harm. This duty of care can exist in various ways, depending on the circumstances and the nature of a relationship. For example, all motorists have a legal obligation to take reasonable measures when safely operating a vehicle, premises owners have a legal duty to ensure they take reasonable steps in addressing potential hazards that may pose harm to visitors and guests, and medical professionals have a duty to treat their patients in accordance to an accepted standard of care. A legal duty may not always exists, however, such as when a victim overhears a physician providing advice to another patient and suffers harm as a result of following that advice. Because the doctor was not treating that patient or providing information unique to them, there would be no legal duty.
- The legal duty was breached – When a legal duty exists, it can be breached when the defendant fails to uphold their obligation of exercising reasonable care when fulfilling the duty. A breach of duty is a matter of negligence, and it requires a review of the facts at hand to determine if the defendant failed to act in a reasonable manner under a particular set of circumstances. For example, a driver who gets behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of alcohol clearly breaches their duty of taking reasonable measures to operate their vehicle safely, as any person knows that driving under the influence is a dangerous act that puts others at risk.
- Causation – When a defendant breaches a legal duty, it becomes the victim’s burden to prove that their actions and negligence more likely than not caused harm to the victim. This element can be satisfied by showing that a defendant could and should have foreseen how their actions would have led to preventable harm. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is a clear example of proximate cause, but so is failing to clean up a puddle of water in a grocery store where people frequently walk.
- Damages – In addition to establishing the existence of a legal duty, a breach of duty, and causation, victims must also show that they suffered actual damages. Aside from physical injuries, these damages may also include the economic costs of medical treatment and future medical needs, lost income and lost future wages, and property damage. It can also include noneconomic damages such as a victim’s pain and suffering and their emotional and mental anguish. In every case we handle, our legal team works diligently to evaluate the full scope of how injuries affected the lives of our clients and their loved ones in order to pursue the maximum compensation possible.
Evaluating whether you have grounds to pursue a personal injury case is essential to understanding your legal rights and how you may be entitled to financial compensation. Our legal team at Sacks Weston LLC is readily available to help you explore the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident, and to explain how we can utilize our experience and resources to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. As proven trial lawyers who have recovered over $4 billion in compensation for our clients, we have the versatility to help clients seek justice during both claim negotiations and, when necessary, litigation in court.
To request a free consultation, contact us today.