| Added On November 9, 2010
Most people have heard the term “personal injury lawsuit” before. For most people, the term refers to car accident cases. While personal injury law certainly does include car accident cases, there are a large number of other situations that may also be the basis for a personal injury lawsuit. The Fresno personal injury attorneys at Ledger & Associates offer the following guide to help you determine whether you have been the victim in a potential personal injury accident lawsuit. Keep in mind that personal injury accident lawsuits are very fact specific and the best way to determine whether or not you may be entitled to compensation for injuries you have sustained is by consulting with a Fresno personal injury attorney.
1. Who caused the injuries? The first thing the law looks at when determining whether you are entitled to compensation for injuries you received is whether the defendant owed you a “duty of care”. Some injuries are caused by true accidents. Others, are caused when someone who was legally obligated under the eyes of the law to take care with you failed to do so. In a car accident, the driver of the car that hit you had a duty of care to drive carefully because failure to do so could easily injury other drivers. A shop owner generally has a duty of care to the patrons in her shop because she is in control of the premises and invites people to come in and shop. The owner of an aggressive dog may have a duty of care to protect people that could easily come into contact with the dog.
2. What happened? Once you have determined that the person that caused the harm had a duty of care to you, then you must consider how the accident happened. In legal terms, the law looks at whether or not the person that caused the harm breached the duty of care. In the car accident example, while the driver of the car may have a duty of care, if the accident was actually caused by an act of God (a tree falling in the middle of the road for instance) then the driver may not have breached his duty even though he caused the injuries. On the other hand, the shop owner may have breached her duty of care if she failed to clean up spilled liquid in an aisle that led to the accident.
3. What caused the accident? In most cases, causation is simple. Sometimes, though, causation can become complicated. In some cases, more than one defendant may be responsible. In a plane crash, for example, the pilot, airline and manufacturer could all share liability or have a part in the cause of the accident.
4. Were you injured? It sounds obvious, but the last issue for your Fresno personal injury attorneys will be an analysis of your injuries – or damages in legal terms. While physical injuries are certainly compensable in a personal injury accident lawsuit, other subjective injuries such as pain, suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship may also be compensable.
For a free and detailed evaluation of a potential Fresno personal injury accident case, please contact Ledger & Associates at (559) 892-0121 or toll-free at 1-800-300-0001. The Fresno office is located at 516 W Shaw Avenu, Fresno, or you may visit the firm’s website at www.ledgerlaw.com