How to Know If You Have a Valid Personal Injury Case
In the wake of an injury-causing accident, your first concerns should rightly be about your immediate safety and health. However, after that initial worry begins to fade, your mind will likely start to turn to financial compensation—will you be able to recover for your inevitable bills and suffering? The only surefire way to know whether or not you have a valid personal injury case is to talk to a personal injury attorney in Arizona, but beyond that, there are a few key prerequisites you can look into yourself.
While it can seem obvious, it’s vital to remember that you must have been “injured” in some variety in order to have a valid personal injury case. Injuries don’t have to be strictly physical; you could have sustained a financial loss or suffered emotional pain, but regardless, you must have actually been harmed. Simple negligence does not constitute an Arizona personal injury case unless that same carelessness hurt you.
A Duty of Care to You Was Breached
In order for your injury to constitute a valid case for liability, you’ll need to demonstrate two things:
- You were owed a duty of care, meaning that someone was legally responsible for keeping you safe. Drivers on the road have a duty of care towards everyone in their path (whether driver or pedestrian), property owners have a duty of care towards those who are lawfully on their premises, medical workers have a duty of care towards their patients.
- Someone then breached that duty of care, which can be loosely interpreted to mean “they did something wrong.” Even if you were injured by someone else, if their actions were responsible/ aligned with their duty of care, you would not have a valid case. Common breaches of one’s duty of care include drunk driving, medical malpractice, a lack of maintenance, and general negligence.
Note that even if you yourself caused the injury in part, you’re likely still eligible to file a personal injury claim due to Arizona’s comparative negligence laws. Provided that you didn’t cause the injury willfully, you’ll still be able to receive compensation in direct proportion to your personal level of fault (for example, being 25% to blame for your injuries would only allow you to recover for 75% of your losses).
You Were Injured Less Than Two Years Ago
All states have limits to how long you have to file a case, depending on the nature of the case in question. Arizona’s personal injury statute of limitations is a traditional two years, meaning that you won’t be eligible to file a personal injury claim once two years have passed from the date of your injury (or from the date you discovered that you were injured in the case of delayed-onset injuries, provided that a reasonable person would have found it at the same time).
A Personal Injury Attorney in Arizona Can Help
Ultimately, the question of “validity” in a personal injury case is tricky. You not only need to be sure that you can file a case, but also that you’ll be likely to win, and that doing so will be a financially sound decision for you. ELG’s Phoenix personal injury attorneys can help on all of these fronts, so give us a call at (623) 877-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a legal professional. We’re glad to answer any questions you might have, even if you’re not sure if hiring a lawyer is the right decision for you; whatever the case, we’re on your side.