Many of our clients and potential clients worry they don’t have grounds for a personal injury case.
We encourage people to avoid guesswork: the only real way to know whether you have a “good” or “winnable” case is to consult with a personal injury lawyer. Still, there are a few questions you can ask yourself if you’re trying to decide whether it’s worth calling a lawyer.
Have you sustained a physical injury that requires medical care?
This is the first and most vital question. Whether the accident in question was a car accident, a slip and fall, a mishap with a faulty product, or some other incident, you must sustain an injury to have a personal injury case.
Psychological injuries are also a valid ground for a personal injury case, though they may be harder to prove.
Did someone else cause that injury?
Personal injury cases don’t cover you if you caused the injury yourself. In Alberta, everyone must take responsibility for their own actions. If you slipped on the stairs in your own home then you don’t have a case.
If you slipped on the stairs of someone else’s home you might, however, especially if you slipped because they failed to repair their stairs, left their stairs wet, or created some other unsafe condition.
Did that person have a duty to you?
Personal injury law runs on the theory that certain people have a “duty of care” to one another. That is, they have a responsibility to make sure they don’t hurt other people through irresponsible actions.
Drivers have a duty of care to one another as soon as they get out on the road. Every driver has a responsibility to follow traffic laws, pay attention, and drive unimpaired. A property owner has a duty of care to anyone who visits their property. They must address active hazards quickly. A daycare owner has a duty of care to the children they watch over.
If the person has no duty to you then no personal injury case exists.
Have you suffered a financial loss?
You have to be able to prove that the injury has had a financial impact on your life. Otherwise there’s nothing for a cash settlement to compensate. If you trip, fall, and are ultimately unhurt then you don’t have a personal injury case.
The theory behind personal injury cases is that someone who hurts you through negligence needs to make you whole again. The only real way to do this is through financial compensation.
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While these basic factors tell you whether you might have a personal injury case, they don’t necessarily tell you whether you have one worth pursuing. Some injuries are minor enough that insurance companies pay up without complaint, and don’t require a lawyer’s help. Sometimes your own negligence is too great to make the case worth pursuing.
The only way to know is to reach out to a qualified personal injury lawyer. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll look at the facts of your case, and help you determine whether a personal injury lawsuit is the right move for you.