By Francis M. Smith
If you've suffered an injury in a car crash or other accident, it's likely that you have a lot of questions. Can you sue? Should you sue? What determines whether you have a case? Should you hire an accident lawyer? Unfortunately, not every injury will lead to a successful lawsuit, and the determining factor isn't necessarily how badly you were hurt. In order to win a lawsuit against the person who caused your injuries, you and your accident lawyer must be able to prove that the other party was negligent in a way that caused your injuries. Negligence is a complicated legal concept, but in its most basic form, it means that the person in question had a responsibility to behave in a particular way or perform particular actions in order to keep others from being harmed, and they failed in that duty in a way that resulted in someone being injured.
In real world terms, the owner or manager of a store has a responsibility, within reason, to keep the floors of the business's public areas dry and free of slippery materials. If he neglects this duty and unreasonably fails to clean up any slippery substances that get spilled on the floor, which he knew about or should have known about, he is legally responsible for the injuries of anyone who is hurt by slipping on that floor. Similarly, every motorist has a responsibility to drive in a safe and careful manner that does not endanger others on the road. If a driver neglects that responsibility by speeding, running a red light, following another driver too closely, or engaging in other careless driving behaviors (that is, violating the rules of the road), and his poor driving causes an accident that injures someone, the driver can be found negligent and held legally responsible for the other person's injuries.
The idea of filing a personal injury lawsuit has a lot of baggage built up around it. Insurance companies would much rather people didn't pursue injury suits, since insurers care first and foremost about their own profit margins, and the well-being of accident victims is barely a blip on their radar. Together with chamber of commerce organizations, insurance companies have gone to a lot of trouble to cast doubt on the sincerity and honesty of people who sue for injury damages. While dishonest claimants and the unscrupulous attorneys who support them do exist, they are a very small minority. By far, most people who file injury suits, and the attorneys who represent them, are simply seeking fair compensation to help them get their lives back on track after they were hurt by someone else's careless actions. There should be no shame or guilt attached to your efforts to receive reasonable compensation for your serious injuries.
To dispel another myth about injury suits, you're not being mean by filing suit against the person who caused your injuries, and your lawsuit isn't going to ruin them or send them to prison. The reason why all drivers are required to carry auto insurance, and why businesses maintain liability insurance, is to cover them financially in the event of an accident. By holding insurance, the person who caused your injuries is protected. The money you receive in injury damages comes from the insurance company, which can more than afford to compensate you fairly for the injuries you've suffered. What's more, the insurance company has a team of well-trained and experienced claims representatives and legal professionals on their side who will fight to protect the insurer's interests. There's no reason you should feel the least bit "bad" about hiring an experienced accident lawyer who will fight just as hard for your sake.
The legal system understands that sometimes a person is hurt through no fault of their own, as a result of someone else's reckless or careless conduct. When you are seriouly injured, the medical costs alone can be staggering, to say nothing of the time you spend unable to work, the time family members have to take off from work to help you, and the other expenses associated with your recovery. While it's hard to put a price tag on the physical and emotional pain that often result from a serious accident, our legal system also recognizes your right to collect damages for the pain and suffering you have experienced and will in the future experience. It's hard to imagine until it happens to you, that the life of an honest and hard-working person can be turned upside-down by another person's moment of inattention or carelessness. But when it does happen, you have every right to stand up for yourself and pursue the fair compensation you deserve, and to seek the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who can walk you through the process of filing a claim, help you gather evidence to build your case, and argue your position in court. You didn't ask for any of this, but with the help of your accident lawyer, you can recover the means to move on. No system of compensating an injured person is perfect, but our system here in the United States is the best and fairest in the world.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a serious accident, please contact me or call me at 908-233-5800 for a free consultation.