Unfortunately, we live in a world where accidents occur on a daily basis. In fact, each year hundreds of thousands of Americans are involved in car, bus, train and airplane accidents. And in many of these instances severe injuries are the result—if not worse. It only makes sense, then, that those involved in an accident hold the responsible party accountable. That’s where attorneys come into the picture. But despite the mass amounts of lawsuits on the docket each year, filing a personal injury claim isn’t as quick and easy as many folks think. For most attorneys to take on a case such as this, it needs to be strong. So how does the average person decide whether or not his or her particular accident warrants litigation? Here’s a helpful checklist that can help a person find out.
Burden of Proof
Is my injury valid? Can it be backed up by medical evidence? These are just a couple questions people will want to ask themselves before filing that claim. This is what’s called the “burden of proof,” and the claimant will want to ensure they can prove their case and then some. They’ll need to be able to show that the defendant was negligent and that this negligence caused the accident in question. That’s why the first thing a person should do in the event of a serious accident is to go to the doctor. This should take place even before consulting an attorney.
In any personal injury case, authoritative medical documents are worth their weight in gold. Medical documents recorded just after the accident took place, and containing detailed information, will speak for themselves in court. For example, if the accident was severe enough to require an emergency room visit, or minor or major surgery, then the consensus will most likely be that the claim is a valid one. And any statement by a doctor or medical professional recommending ongoing treatment is crucial as well, as this could significantly increase the monetary award.
The more the victim treats his or her accident as a forensic issue, the more likely it is he or she will emerge successful in a personal injury lawsuit. As for photographic evidence, it is absolutely vital in vehicle accidents. Photographs of vehicles or injuries will help determine what the eventual payout should be. Any relevant road conditions, such as roadwork or malfunctioning traffic lights, should be photographed as well.
Law Enforcement and Eye Witness Testimony
Having an officer of the law on the side of the plaintiff is another great path to success. And police reports that determine there was negligence on the side of the defendant is all but ironclad. Eyewitness testimony is also highly valued, as oftentimes parties involved in accidents are acting emotionally and thus tend to filter memories through this emotional prism. Sober eyewitness testimony from unbiased parties is just another ace up the sleeve.
These are all things to consider when thinking about filing that personal injury lawsuit. The most important thing, however, is to determine the status of the defendant before bringing the suit. If they are unemployed, uninsured, and/or destitute, then it makes little sense to hire a lawyer and spend those man hours for a reward that will likely never come.