If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence or mistake, you may be thinking of filing a personal injury case to collect funds to cover the damages. You'll need to find a good lawyer, compile your evidence, and go before a judge to have your case heard. If you have a strong case and the judge sides with you, then you'll be awarded some or all of the money you've asked for.
Unfortunately, filing a personal injury case can be pretty long and arduous. You really don't want to go through the process just to have your case thrown out or the judge side with the defendant. To avoid these scenarios, it's worth your while to learn a bit more about personal injury cases before you proceed. Specifically, make sure you know the truth behind these common myths.
Myth #1: As long as you were injured on someone else's property, you have a case.
There are plenty of cases in which a plaintiff was able to successfully sue after being injured on someone else's property. But not every case in which someone is hurt on another person's property is a valid case. To form a personal injury case, you and your lawyer must prove that the property owner (or an employee) acted negligently, and this negligence resulted in your injury.
For instance, if an owner was aware of a large pot hole, made no effort to label or fix it, and you fell in it, injuring your back -- you may have a case. On the other hand, if the owner roped off the pothole, had repairs scheduled for next week, and you fell in the hole because you jumped over the caution tape, you may not have a case. The judge would likely feel that the property owned did what should be expected of them in taking care of the pothole and that your own negligence led to your injury.
Myth #2: You can only file a personal injury case against one person.
Many injury victims waste a lot of time asking themselves who is to blame for their injury because they are under the misconception that they have to choose one person to file a case against. While there are cases where only one plaintiff is named, there's no reason you can't file a suit against several parties if that's what your case warranted.
For instance, imagine you were in a car crash that resulted because one pedestrian jumped out into traffic and another vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign, hitting you when you swerved to miss the pedestrian. Who is at fault? If you and your lawyer agree that both the pedestrian and the other driver are to blame, you can file suits against both of them. You might win one or both suits -- so it's worth casting a wide net.
Myth #3: The person you name in the suit will have to pay you out of pocket.
You may be tempted not to even file a case or to ask for less money because you fear the person you are suing can't pay. But the truth is, most personal injury settlements are not paid out by the individual or company that you sue. They end up being paid out by that individual or company's insurance company, who can certainly afford to pay you.
So don't base the amount of damages you're requesting on the perceived ability of the other party to pay. Your lawyer will decide how much your case is worth based on the severity of your injury, your medical costs, your lost wages, and the extent of your pain and suffering.
For more information and assistance with your case, talk with a personal injury attorney.