When someone suffers an injury as the result of someone else’s actions or failure to act, the injured victim might have the basis to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit could recover compensatory damages for the injured victim. Of course, every case has a unique set of circumstances that must be carefully reviewed by a personal injury lawyer. An attorney will consider whether the facts and allegations of your particular case could form the basis of a lawsuit. You may wish to consider the following questions before contacting a personal injury lawyer.
Did you suffer a serious injury?
There are many circumstances in which a person might be tempted to call an attorney. If, for example, another driver cuts you off and nearly causes an accident, it can be tempting to take legal action. You might also want to file a lawsuit if you were embarrassed by slipping and falling in a retail store or other public place. However, a personal injury lawsuit can only proceed if you sustained an injury. Merely becoming embarrassed by falling or fearful about nearly getting into a car accident aren’t enough to file a claim.
If you did suffer an injury, you should next consider the severity of that injury. If you only suffered a few bumps and bruises, and didn’t have to go to the hospital, then a lawsuit is unlikely to result in worthwhile compensation. However, if you did go to the hospital or miss time at work because of your injury, then it could be worthwhile to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
Was your injury the result of someone else’s negligence?
The second main issue to consider is, if you were severely injured, whether someone else was at fault for the incident. As an example, let’s say you slipped and fell at a retail store because the floor was wet. If there was a wet floor sign at the location, but you didn’t exercise caution, then the store is not at fault for the accident. However, if the slippery area was not appropriately marked, then a personal injury lawyer could investigate the case to determine which party could be held liable for the accident.
Was your injury the result of someone else’s intentional action?
Most personal injury cases are the result of negligence. Negligence means that the individual did not intentionally inflict the injuries. However, some lawsuits are indeed filed as the result of intentional actions. They are known as intentional torts—a type of personal injury lawsuit. If someone intentionally caused harm to you, you may be able to sue that person in civil court. This civil lawsuit would proceed completely independent of any criminal charges that might be filed. An intentional tort might be filed after an individual commits assault, battery, or false imprisonment.
How long has it been since you were injured?
Even if you were severely injured as the result of someone else’s negligent or intentional actions, you might not be able to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long to consult a personal injury lawyer, it’s possible that the statute of limitations has already expired. A statute of limitations is a deadline to bringing a legal claim. Once this deadline passes, the injured victim forfeits the right to file a lawsuit. Every state sets its own laws regarding statutes of limitations. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the injury.
Get the personalized legal guidance you need in Los Angeles
Los Angeles personal injury lawyer Sean Salamati invites injured Californians to get in touch to request a complimentary, no-obligation case review. Find out if you have the basis to file a personal injury lawsuit and learn about your legal rights. Our personal injury law firm is conveniently located in downtown Los Angeles, and our multilingual staff prides itself on outstanding client care. Call us today to request a one-on-one consult with a personal injury lawyer.