Understanding Personal Injury Cases: A Comprehensive Guide
Unlike criminal lawsuits in which a person accused of committing a crime is being prosecuted by the state or federal government, personal injury cases involve an individual (the plaintiff) filing a civil lawsuit against another individual, business, or organization (the defendant) for damages caused by negligence or intentional harm.
When you file a personal injury claim, the burden of proof lies solely on you, meaning you’ll need to prove the person or entity responsible for your accident was negligent and caused the injury.
In a perfect world, liability in personal injury accidents would be unquestionable, and plenty of tangible evidence would prove it. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. The most complicated injuries to prove are those that present evidentiary challenges (scarce or non-existent evidence) and those with conflicting stories about who’s at fault.
If you or your loved one sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence and you’re struggling to prove your case, consider contacting an Atlanta personal injury attorney. One of the key roles of personal injury law firms is to prove cases by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and filing legal documents.
What Can Make Your Personal Injury Claim Hard to Prove?
Certain personal injury accidents, such as slip and falls and dog bites, may be difficult to prove due to questionable liability.
In a slip and fall case, you’ll need to prove the property owner or employees knew or should have known about the safety hazard but neglected to take appropriate action, which led to your injury. You may also need to prove that you were on the premises when you claim the injury occurred, show proof that the hazard even existed, and convince the insurance company or the court that your actions didn’t cause your injury.
This can be problematic for several reasons. For instance, if you were walking down a grocery aisle and slipped on a puddle of liquid, the defendant can claim there wasn’t a reasonable amount of time to clean up the spill before your accident happened.
There may also be no concrete evidence that your accident occurred in the first place. Not all businesses have cameras installed, or they may claim there’s no footage documenting your accident and that you never reported it.
There may also be no witnesses to provide statements in your support, which can make it especially difficult to prove fault or prove your accident happened at all. This is why it’s vital to immediately report any injuries to the business or property owner and fill out any necessary accident reports to document what happened and when. Also, request a copy of this report.
Dog bites are another type of personal injury lawsuits where liability can be easily disputed. Proving a particular animal caused your injury may be challenging without evidence like video, pictures, or witness testimony. Moreover, the dog owner may try to place the blame on you by saying you provoked the dog or that you were trespassing on their property.
In civil law, damages refer to the amount of money a plaintiff seeks from the defendant for losses suffered due to the defendant’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Although damages are usually tangible, such as medical bills, lost wages, and transportation costs to and from medical appointments, it’s not uncommon for plaintiffs to pursue compensation for intangible damages like pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering can be tough to prove as it’s subjective and can vary significantly from person to person. It’s also difficult to quantify, as there is no universal measure of how much physical, mental, or emotional distress a person endures daily.
Even tangible damages can be challenging to prove at times. The defendant’s insurance company handling your claim may attempt to chalk up your injuries to a preexisting condition and use other deceit tactics to underpay or deny your claim.
What If I’m Partially at Fault for My Injuries?
You can still be awarded compensation for your injury even if you’re found partially at fault for your accident.
Under Georgia’s comparative negligence doctrine, a percentage of fault can be assigned to each party involved in an accident. This percentage of fault is then used to determine the damages each party is liable for.
For example, if you’re found to be 20 percent at fault for your injuries, you’re still entitled to compensation, but your damages will be reduced by 20 percent. As long as your percentage of fault is under 50 percent, you can be awarded compensation for your injuries.
Tips to Help Prove Your Injury Claim
If you’ve sustained an injury due to someone else’s negligence and want to pursue legal action, consider the following tips to help prove your case:
- Take pictures of the accident site and visible injuries. If possible, take plenty of photos from different angles and distances. These will be visual evidence in court or during settlement negotiations if needed.
- Collect contact information from witnesses. If anyone witnessed your accident, be sure to get their contact information so they can provide testimony during the trial or deposition.
- Document your pain. After you’ve been injured, journal your daily symptoms and when they occurred. This will help show the severity of your injury and its ongoing effects on your life.
- Visit your doctor regularly. It’s important to document all your medical treatments and appointments with your doctor and keep copies of all medical expenses.
- Keep track of lost wages. If you’ve been unable to work due to your injuries, keep a detailed record of the time you’ve missed from work and any wages you may have lost.
- Don’t settle too soon or accept an initial offer without consulting an experienced attorney. Insurance companies are notorious for low-balling offers, so it’s essential to understand the full value of your claim and ensure you’re getting fair compensation for your injuries.
- Hire an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney can help you prove fault, calculate a fair settlement amount, fight for a higher settlement offer on your behalf, and handle any appeals if needed.
Proving personal injury claims can be complex and time-consuming, especially when you don’t have concrete proof that your injury occurred or the full extent of your losses. However, with careful documentation and an experienced lawyer on your side, you may be able to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Seeking Legal Help for Your Personal Injury Claim
Navigating the legal system and proving your personal injury case can be a daunting task, especially if you’re dealing with severe injuries like spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injuries. That’s why it’s crucial to seek the advice and representation of an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process, fight for your rights, and help you receive maximum compensation for your damages.
With their extensive knowledge and resources, a skilled personal injury lawyer can assist in gathering evidence, building a solid case, and negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf. They can also represent you in court if necessary and handle any legal hurdles that may arise throughout the process.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. A successful personal injury claim can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages caused by the accident, allowing you to focus on your recovery with peace of mind.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta for Help Proving Your Case
If you have been injured in an accident in Atlanta, the personal injury lawyers at the Dressie Law Firm can help you build a compelling claim and get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
Call (678) 726-1429 to schedule a free consultation.