The chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit are extremely fact-specific and depend on your accident, injury, circumstances, and the evidence you have available to prove your case. To win a personal injury lawsuit at trial, you must establish all of the legal elements of your case and convince a jury that you deserve to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
Winning a personal injury case yourself is nearly impossible since insurance companies and their defence lawyers will do everything possible to derail your claim or lawsuit. Insurance companies are not on your side and are only interested in limiting their payout to you as much as possible. Therefore, one of the most important steps you can take toward winning a personal injury lawsuit is to retain experienced legal counsel to represent you throughout your case.
A personal injury lawyer in your area can file a claim on your behalf, negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court. If your lawyer needs to file suit, they may continue their settlement negotiations or take your case to a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing. During these proceedings, your lawyer can help you establish the legal elements of your case, introduce favourable evidence, and work to maximize the total monetary recovery you receive.
What Accidents Lead to Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Several types of accidents may lead to a personal injury lawsuit. Some of the most common include car wrecks and premises accidents.
Car wrecks usually happen when other people drive recklessly and carelessly. For example, a driver might deviate from the standard of care by engaging in road rage, operating their vehicle while intoxicated (DUI), engaging in distracted driving, or violating one or more traffic laws.
When a driver acts unreasonably, they may cause various types of accidents, including rear-end crashes and broadside accidents (or T-bone collisions). Arguably, the most serious type of car accident is a head-on crash and is the most likely to cause permanent injuries and fatalities.
Other personal injury lawsuits arise because of premises accidents. Premises owners and operators have a duty to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe manner at all times. Furthermore, if they become aware of a hazardous condition or defect on their premises, they have a duty to warn about or repair the condition within a reasonable amount of time. If they fail to do so, and a serious accident happens, the property owner or their insurance company may be financially liable.
Some of the most common types of premises accidents that lead to personal injury lawsuits include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Trip-and-fall accidents
- Attacks on the premises that result from negligent security
- Staircase accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
If you suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from another person’s negligence, you should have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side who can explain your legal rights to you in clear terms. A skilled personal injury lawyer in your area can determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit, given the unique circumstances of your case. If you are eligible to file a claim or a lawsuit in the court system your lawyer can assist you with every step of the process.
Steps to Take Before Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Before an accident victim files a lawsuit in court, they must ordinarily file a personal injury claim. In most instances, the accident victim’s lawyer can file this claim with the insurance company for the at-fault party. For example, in a premises accident scenario, the accident victim’s lawyer can pursue a claim with the property owner’s insurance company.
The claims-filing process typically begins when a personal injury lawyer sends a settlement demand package and various documents to the insurance company adjuster. Important documents in the case may include copies of incident reports, lost income documents, medical reports, photographs of injuries, photographs of the incident scene, and a personal statement from the accident victim.
Upon receipt, the insurance company adjuster will review these documents and determine whether or not to accept fault for the accident.
In some situations, it may be advisable for an accident victim to file a lawsuit in the court system sooner rather than later. First, a personal injury lawyer may file suit if the insurance company denies fault for the accident. For example, the insurance company adjuster might allege that the accident victim contributed to the accident somehow.
It may also be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit when the insurance company simply refuses to offer the accident victim sufficient monetary compensation for their injuries and other losses. For instance, the insurance company adjuster might argue that the accident victim’s injuries did not result from the accident.
Alternatively, they may point to pre-existing injuries or medical conditions to try and explain away the accident victim’s injuries. In that instance, the accident victim may need to look to the courts for monetary compensation.
A personal injury lawyer in your area can help you determine whether it is a good idea to file a lawsuit, given the facts and circumstances of your individual case. If you decide to proceed forward with litigation in the court system, your lawyer will help you every step of the way and assist you during the proceedings.
What Legal Elements Do I Need to Prove to Win a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
To win a personal injury lawsuit in the court system and recover monetary compensation, accident victim must satisfy their legal burden of proof. Specifically, an accident victim must show that the at-fault party owed them some legal duty of care they ultimately violated. For example, in the context of a car accident, an accident victim must typically demonstrate, through evidence, that the other driver violated one or more road rules.
Next, to win their case, an accident victim must demonstrate that the responsible party’s unreasonable actions or inactions caused the subject accident.
Finally, the accident victim must show that as a direct result of the accident, they suffered one or more physical injuries. To win a personal injury case, property damage alone is not sufficient.
An experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can help you prove the legal elements of your case by introducing the appropriate evidence at a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing on your behalf.
Who Determines Whether I Win My Lawsuit in Court?
If your case goes to a civil jury trial, the jury will listen to the evidence and determine the outcome of all disputed issues in the case at that time. In many car accident and premises liability cases, the jury will decide the outcome of two issues: liability and damages.
Liability involves whether or not the other party breached their duty of care and caused your injuries. The issue of damages goes to the monetary compensation you deserve to recover for your injuries and other losses.
Before some jury trials, the parties may reach one or more stipulations or agreements. For example, the parties may agree that the at-fault defendant violated their legal duty of care. However, in that scenario, the accident victim will still need to prove the causation and damage elements of their personal injury case to recover monetary compensation.
Alternatively, some trials are bench trials rather than jury trials. At these proceedings, a judge will decide the outcome of all disputed issues in the case, including liability and damages.
Finally, as an alternative to trial, the parties may decide on one or more types of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or binding arbitration. At a mediation proceeding, a mediator listens to both sides of the dispute and helps facilitate additional settlement discussions between the parties.
However, if the parties agree to take their case to binding arbitration, a pre-selected, neutral arbitrator will listen to the evidence that the parties present and decide the amount of monetary compensation to award the accident victim. In most cases that go to binding arbitration, the parties agree on the issue of liability. Therefore, the arbitrator only needs to decide the issue of damages.
What Evidence Do I Need to Introduce at Trial to Win My Lawsuit?
To win a lawsuit at a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, the accident victim or their lawyer will need to produce various types of evidence. Evidence may consist of live witness testimony, documents, or both.
To prove the legal elements of a personal injury case and win, an accident victim’s lawyer may introduce:
- Testimony from the accident victim, describing how the accident occurred, the injuries they suffered, and the overall effects that the injuries have had on their life
- Testimony from the accident victim’s employer or their representative about the number of days the accident victim missed from their job, as well as the total amount of money they lost from not working after their accident
- Testimony from fact witnesses who saw the accident firsthand and how it happened
- Testimony from fact witnesses who know the accident victim and who observed everything that the accident victim experienced, in terms of their activity levels, pain, and suffering, since the accident date
- Lost income documentation from the accident victim’s employer
- Photographs of the accident victim’s injuries, as well as photographs of any property damage
- Photographs of the incident scene
- Medical records describing the medical treatment that the accident victim underwent and stating whether or not the accident victim likely suffered a permanent injury in their accident
- In-court testimony or a report from an accident reconstructionist that details how the accident likely occurred and who caused it
A personal injury lawyer can determine what evidence may help you the most in your legal proceeding.
What Damages Can I Recover in My Personal Injury Lawsuit?
To win a personal injury lawsuit, the accident victim must establish the various elements of the underlying claim during litigation. The types and amounts of monetary compensation you may recover are extremely case-specific and depend upon various important factors, including the type of accident that occurred, the circumstances surrounding your accident, the injuries you sustained in the accident, whether or not you suffered permanent injuries, and whether or not you incurred lost income.
A personal injury lawyer in your area can highlight the strengths of your case during a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
Your lawyer can also introduce favourable evidence to prove you deserve monetary damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
Your lawyer can let you know which of these damages you will likely recover in your personal injury lawsuit and will do everything possible to maximize your total monetary recovery.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from another person’s negligence, you should obtain the legal help you need right away. Waiting too long may jeopardize your right to recover the monetary compensation you deserve in your personal injury lawsuit.
A lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of your case, determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit, and take the necessary legal steps on your behalf. If your lawyer needs to file a personal injury lawsuit in the court system, they will do so well within the statutory timeframe.
Your personal injury lawyer in Edmonton can also help you recover a favourable settlement from the insurance company or litigate your case all the way to a favourable jury trial or binding arbitration result.