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4 Legal Requirements of Filing an Accident Injury Claim

by | Jul 22, 2023 | Personal Injury |

When you wish to file an accident injury claim, certain criteria must be met. San Antonio accident injury lawyers can help talk you through the process and ensure you meet the requirements, and they can represent you throughout your case.

4 Legal Requirements for Filing an Accident Injury Claim

1. There Must Have Been a Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care

A duty to exercise reasonable care means that a person must have been obligated to take precautions to avoid injuring people. So, in car accidents, this means all drivers must follow the rules of the road. In workplace accidents, this means employers must ensure employees are properly trained and given the appropriate safety equipment to do their jobs.

There are also situations where the duty of care is less obvious. For example, in premises liability cases, the premises or business owners must have taken steps to ensure all parties visiting the premises remain safe. However, it’s not always obvious what these steps are or what the business owners did to ensure the safety of everyone on the premises. In these cases, your attorney will have to help determine the duty of reasonable care.

2. There Must Have Been a Failure to Exercise the Care

For your case to be valid, the person responsible for exercising reasonable care must have neglected to exercise this care. In car accident cases, the liable driver may have breached the rules of the road, been intoxicated behind the wheel, or have been driving while distracted. At work, your employer may have failed to issue safety gear or properly train employees.

In some cases, there’s no negligence involved. Instead, people can act with malice or recklessness, thus breaching their duty of reasonable care. However, whether a person acted with malice or negligence doesn’t matter; the person should be held liable for their actions regardless of how they breached their duty of care. Their malice or recklessness will only come into play if you’re seeking punitive damages.

3. There Must Be Clear Causation

Your attorney needs to be able to demonstrate how the negligent, malicious, or reckless party contributed to your injuries. In some cases, this is quite simple. If a driver crashed into you and the accident resulted in you breaking your leg, then it can be straightforward to prove how the liable party was involved. Unfortunately, other cases are less straightforward.

Cases get complicated when there are multiple liable parties. They’re also more complicated when you’re partially at fault for your injuries. For example, if you were found to be partially at fault for a car accident, then the amount you can seek in damages decreases. You must also be less than 50% responsible to be able to seek compensation from the other liable party.

4. There Must Be Proof of Damages

Most injury cases involve damages to some degree. After all, if you were injured, then that injury must be treated, leading to medical bills that you should be reimbursed for by the liable party or their insurance company. However, you can’t be reimbursed for any of your damages unless your attorney can prove the damages were caused by the accident.

There are many ways your attorney may prove that your damages were caused by the accident. They’ll likely do an investigation and gather evidence to support your claim. They’ll have to build a case for you to help you recover the full value of your damages.

4 Ways Accident Injury Lawyers in San Antonio May Prove You’ve Sustained Damages

1. Using Your Medical Records

You need to be able to demonstrate that your injuries didn’t exist before the accident. One way to do this is by using your medical records. The medical records should show that your new injury or condition didn’t exist before you got into the accident. You may also undergo a medical assessment to further help your case.

Your medical records may also be used to prove that you had an ongoing condition before your accident so that you don’t receive reimbursement for treating this condition. Medical experts may need to weigh in to discuss whether or not this pre-existing condition made it more likely that you would become injured in an accident. However, you can still recover compensation if you have a pre-existing condition.

2. Using Eyewitness Statements

People who witnessed you before, during, and after the accident may be able to weigh in and give testimonies that may be used as evidence. If you slipped and fell at work, then a witness may be able to testify that you were walking normally before the accident, then the accident occurred, and you were unable to get up and walk after the accident.

How eyewitness testimonies are used will vary depending on what kind of accident you were in and on how much the witnesses saw.

3. Using Relevant Documentation

Various types of documentation will likely be used to prove damages in your case. Documentation such as medical records have been discussed above, but there may be other documentation involved. For example, bills showing how much it will take to repair property that was damaged in the accident may be used. Documentation showing your salary and how long you had to take off work may be used if you’re seeking lost wages.

If you’re looking to recover damages for lost earning capacity, then relevant documentation for this may be used. For example, if you had to take a new, lower-paying job due to a new disability, then documentation comparing your old salary to your new salary may be helpful evidence.

4. Using Your Testimony

You will, of course, be asked to testify regarding your situation. You may talk about life before the accident versus after the accident. You may also talk about the accident itself. Other witnesses may be able to testify regarding the damages you’ve suffered, too, but it all depends on the situation and the severity of your damages.

Who Pays For the Damages Sustained in the Accident?

Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are the parties most likely to pay out if you’ve suffered damages in an accident. If you were hit by a negligent driver, then that driver’s insurance company may pay out if that driver has the appropriate insurance coverage. If you sustained an accident at work, then your employer’s insurance company will likely payout.

If you were injured on somebody else’s premises, then the premises owner or business owner’s insurance company will generally be the one to cover your damages.

The Negligent Individual

In some cases, you may file a lawsuit against the negligent individual involved in your case. They may personally have to pay to cover your damages. Your attorney may advise against doing this in some cases, as sometimes a negligent individual may file for bankruptcy so they don’t end up paying out what they owe you.

Do you need someone to help you ensure your case is viable? Get in touch with Gamez Law Firm online or call us at 210-951-2024. We’ll discuss whether you may have a case, and we may take on that case and represent you going forward. Protect yourself by working with an attorney before you attempt to recover compensation.