Injured? 3 Indications that You Have a Personal Injury Case

July 29, 2020

After you are injured in an accident and the initial shock wears off, it is only natural to start wondering whether you will be able to recover for the losses you have experienced. While the only way to be certain whether you have a case is to have your accident reviewed by an experienced Phoenix injury lawyer, here are three indications that you are legally entitled to recovery.

1. You Have Suffered an Injury

Accidents that do not cause injury are not legally actionable, and lawyers have a name for negligence that does not result in damages: “negligence in the air.” Just because someone is acting negligently does not mean that you will be able to recover damages – you need to establish that you have suffered an injury. In this context, “injury” can mean a number of things including emotional harm, property damage, financial loss, and actual physical injury.

2. Insurance Companies are Contacting You with Settlement Offers

If an insurance company contacts you after an accident offering you money, it is a safe bet that you have a personal injury claim. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and do not offer accident victims money out of the goodness of their corporate hearts. Importantly, DO NOT ACCEPT AN INSURANCE COMPANY OFFER BEFORE SPEAKING TO AN ATTORNEY. It is notoriously difficult to accurately assess the value of a personal injury claim, and non-lawyers often significantly undervalue the amount that they would be able to recover if they were to go to court. As a result, if you accept an offer without first speaking to an attorney, you may end up recovering substantially less compensation that you would have had you retained a lawyer.

3. The At-Fault Party has Retained Legal Counsel

Let’s say that you were rear-ended by a delivery truck and that the driver gave you his business name and assured you that his or her company would cover the damage to your vehicle. When you try and contact this business, you are quickly told to address any communication regarding the incident to an attorney. This defensive posturing is almost certainly a sign that the other party expects you to file a claim. On the other hand, it may mean that they are considering filing a claim against you. In either case, it is critical to retain a lawyer when you learn that the other party to your accident has done the same.

Questions To Consider When Pursuing A Claim

Were You Owed a Duty of Care?

In general, there are certain groups of people that owe a duty of care to others, though this duty of care differs depending on the situation in question. For example, all drivers on the roadway owe a duty of care to operate safely for the benefit of others around them. Property owners must keep their premises safe for those who have the right to be there because this is the duty of care of the owe to their patrons. If there was a duty of care established between you and the person that caused you harm, this is an indication that you have a strong personal injury case.

Was the Duty of Care Breached?

In order for a personal injury case to be successful, it needs to be proven that the defendant (the alleged at-fault party) breached the duty of care they owed to you. Again, this breach of duty will look different depending on the situation. A vehicle driver who caused an accident because they were impaired by alcohol has almost certainly breached the duty of care they owe to others around them. A surgeon who leaves a surgical sponge behind the inside of a patient after a procedure is completed has likely breached the duty of care they owe there patient. If you and your attorney can establish a breach of duty of care, you may have a strong personal injury case moving forward.

You Have Suffered an Injury

Accidents that do not cause injury are not legally actionable, and lawyers have a name for negligence that does not result in damages: “negligence in the air.” Just because someone is acting negligently does not mean that you will be able to recover damages – you need to establish that you have suffered an injury. In this context, “injury” can mean a number of things including emotional harm, property damage, financial loss, and actual physical injury.

Did the Injury Occur in the Last Two Years?

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Arizona is two years from the date the injury occurs. In other words, the victim of an injury must file a civil case against an alleged negligent party within two years from the date of the incident. If your injury occurred within this two-year window, you may still have a valid personal injury case. However, if the injury that you seek compensation for happened more than two years ago, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover compensation for your claim (there are some exceptions that you need to speak with your Arizona injury attorney about).

Did You Contribute to the Incident?

Some people are under the impression that they will not be able to recover any compensation if they contributed to the incident that caused their injuries. However, this is not the truth. Arizona operates under a comparative negligence system that allows for injury victims to recover compensation even if they were up to 99% at fault for the incident. The only caveat to this is that their total compensation will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a car accident injury victim is awarded $100,000 in damages, but was found to be 30% at fault for the incident, then they would receive only $70,000 in total compensation.

Even if you contributed to your injuries in some way, you may still be able to recover compensation for your losses. Let an attorney work to determine liability in your case in order to secure maximum compensation for your injuries.

Call Torgenson Law Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

If you have been involved in an accident, you should retain an attorney immediately. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call Torgenson Law today at (602) 759-0012.