“How do I know if I have a case?”

Generally speaking, you only have the right to recover monetary damages related to an injury if your injury was caused by the negligence (carelessness) of another person or company.  The main exception to this general rule is in the area of a workplace injuries.  In the vast majority of injury cases, compensation is pursued from an insurance company rather than an individual.

1.  Motor Vehicle Accidents:  Whether you were a driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian, you have a claim for compensation if your injuries were caused by the fault of another driver.  Even if you were partially at fault, if the other driver was also partially at fault, a recovery for you is possible.

a:  Drivers:  It may seem obvious that the driver of a vehicle (including motorcycles) can receive compensation when the accident is caused by the negligence of the driver of another vehicle.  A recovery is also possible when the driver of another vehicle negligently forces the driver’s vehicle off the road or into the path of another vehicle.

b.  Passengers:  In most cases in which a passenger is injured in a motor vehicle accident (including motorcycles), that passenger will have a claim for compensation. Compensation is sought from the insurance company of the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident.

c.  Pedestrians:  Pedestrians, including individuals on bicycles, have a claim for compensation from the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident, if that accident was caused at least in part by the negligence of that driver.

2.  Premises Liability:  This would include “slip and falls” but could include many types of injuries that occur on the property of another person, including everything from a large retail store to the home of your next door neighbor.  Generally speaking, you will have a claim if that business or individual was somehow negligent in causing your injuries. Negligence could include the existence of a hidden hazard or the failure to warn of a dangerous condition.  Most homeowners and businesses have liability insurance coverage for these types of claims.

3.  Medical Errors:   A common misconception is that if someone has a bad result from a medical procedure, that person automatically has a claim for monetary damages.  In order to receive a recovery for a bad outcome from medical treatment or a surgery, one has to prove that the hospital or physician failed to provide a level of care that is medically acceptable.  In other words, it has to be proven that the hospital or doctor was negligent.  This is sometimes difficult to prove and usually requires the opinion of a medical expert.  Physicians and hospitals generally have insurance to cover these type of claims.

4.  Workplace Injuries:   As I stated above, an exception to the general rule that a recovery for personal injury requires the negligence of another is in the area of workplace injuries.  All employers are required to carrier workers compensation insurance.  That insurance company is required to pay all of your medical bills until you have reached maximum medical improvement, to compensate you for lost wages while you are required to be off work, and in some cases, to compensate you for any permanent bodily injury.

There are many other types of injury cases, but I have just mentioned a few.  There are strict time limitations for making claims for compensation for any type of injury case.  I hope this was informative.