You’ve been hurt, and you don’t think it’s your fault. In fact, you think it might be the fault of the person who owns the property that you were on. What’s hard to figure out, though, is if you have a claim that a personal injury lawyer can help you with. Determining whether you have a claim requires that you figure out if you have an injury, if there is any way you can be compensated for that injury, whether the owner of the property in question actually had a duty to prevent that injury from occurring, and whether it was reasonable for the other party to do so.
The first thing you have to determine is whether you have an actual injury. In a legal sense, an injury is something that causes an actual harm. You can’t just feel embarrassed because you fell, and you certainly just can’t feel a slight twinge in your arm. What you’re looking for is the kind of injury that a doctor (or in some cases, a psychologist) will be able to diagnose. If your injury wasn’t serious enough for you to visit a doctor, it’s not going to be serious enough for you to have a claim.
Next, you’ll have to figure out if you suffered any kind of financial harm for your injury. If you had an injury but it didn’t impact your life in any other way, you probably don’t have a claim. If you have an injury but the other party has already paid for your care, you probably don’t have a claim. To have any kind of claim in court, you’re going to have to show that having this injury will somehow cause you to lose money. This might be from an inability to work or from the cost of getting the problem fixed, but you have to at least be able to show a potential future loss.
Duty of Care
The next bit is a little more complicated. To have a claim, you have to show that the person who owned the property actually has a duty of care to you. Duty of care is an incredibly dense issue that’s a bit too complex to get into here, but the short version is that you have to show that your interaction with the property falls under a certain type of liability. A property owner owes a guest one kind of care, a customer another, and a trespasser yet another. You might have been injured, but what you were doing on the property might make it your fault.
Finally, in some cases you will need to show that the property owner could have done something to prevent the injury. If there’s a puddle in the middle of a store, for example, it’s easy to show that the owner should have mopped it up. You won’t, however, be able to have a solid claim against a shop owner who had a car drive through his or her front wall and hit you instead. While some types of liability are stricter than other, there are always some injuries that just won’t fall under the auspices of a property owner’s liability.
Do you have a claim for your personal injury? You do if you were injured, that injury caused you a harm that is due compensation, the property owner owes you a duty of care, and that the injury is one that could have been prevented. As you can tell, it’s a complex process that will almost always require the help of a personal injury lawyer. If you are hurt, make sure to talk to an attorney today – you’ll not only get the information you need, but you will get the guidance that is necessary to figure out if you should pursue a case.
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