If you sustained injuries because of someone else’s actions, you need to know the four elements of a personal injury claim. Understanding how personal injury claims work ensures that you navigate the process efficiently, minimizing any further stress. Personal injuries can affect either your mental or physical well-being or a combination of the two.
Whether you noticed your injury immediately or over time, you have a right to file a personal injury claim. Call personal injury attorneys at Aiello Harris at (908) 561-5577 to schedule a free attorney consultation with us today. We can guide you through the claim process and explain the important elements of your claim to help you seek compensation from the negligent party.
Keep reading to learn the important parts of any personal injury claim.
#1 The Existence of a Duty of Care
Everyone should conduct themselves in a way that minimizes risks to themselves and others. This is called the duty of reasonable care, and it applies to most situations in your daily life. For example, anyone operating a motor vehicle must apply reasonable care while driving to minimize the potential risk of traffic accidents.
When you prepare for a personal injury lawsuit, you must show that the other party was responsible. For example, a shop owner has a duty to ensure their business remains safe for visitors. Customers shouldn’t sustain injuries while visiting the store. Once you identify the duty of reasonable care, you move on to the second element.
#2 The Negligence in Breach of That Duty
Where and how did the other party fail to demonstrate their duty? When you pinpoint these specifics, you can satisfy the second element of a personal injury claim. For example, a person who drives recklessly at unlawful speeds might collide with your vehicle and leave you with back and neck pain. As the injured party, you can identify that:
- This driver had the responsibility to drive within the lawful speed limit. (Driving the speed limit is the duty of reasonable care.)
- Since the driver drove recklessly at high speeds, they breached their duty of reasonable care.
Sometimes, a court will rule that your actions contributed partially to your injury. This plays an important role in the next two elements of a personal injury claim.
#3 The Cause for the Claim
Next, you need to prove causation for your claim. If the breach or neglect of reasonable care didn’t cause your injury alone, you must prove that it still contributed. Any negligence or breach found on your part will negatively impact your case.
You must specifically prove that the other party’s negligence alone caused your injuries. Their negligence must play a much bigger part in the property damage or personal injury than any fault of yours.
For example, if your accident incurred $20,000 worth of damage to your car, the court could find you 25% at fault. In that case, you would only receive $15,000 because of a 25% deduction from your initial damages.
#4 The Damages Incurred
What was the extent of your damage? If you didn’t suffer an injury and your property remained intact, you don’t have a claim. You must pinpoint each part of the damage and how it affected your quality of life or well-being. A few basic types of damage that justify a personal injury claim include:
- Lost income: How much time did you miss at work? How much does that cost in lost wages?
- Disability: Did the accident leave you disabled? Has a doctor identified your disability?
- Medical bills: How much will you pay for medical costs because of the accident?
- Pain and suffering: How did the accident affect your overall health, including emotional and mental health?
Courts use many other factors to determine negligence for a personal injury claim. Some factors include time limits or statutes of limitations. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can help you navigate all elements of a personal injury claim and other specifics.
Consult with an Attorney About Your Personal Injury Claim
At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., we have assisted accident victims in New Jersey since 1955. Our lawyers have years of experience with the elements of personal injury claims and can handle complex litigation and negotiations with insurance companies, so you can rely on us to support you with the claim process as you focus on your recovery.
If you need to file a personal injury claim in New Jersey, call us today at (908) 561-5577 for your free attorney consultation.