For a personal injury lawyer, handling cases is often about digging into the details. The job of a personal injury lawyer involves filing a lot of paperwork, whether a client is pursuing a claim or lawsuit.
You may wonder, "What sorts of details are personal injury lawyers looking at?" Here are three things you can expect one to focus on.
Evidence of Injuries
To be abundantly clear, it is not enough that you were hurt in an incident. When someone comes away with a few abrasions and bruises, the odds they have a valid claim drops. Generally, personal injury attorneys are looking for evidence of things like broken bones, nerve or brain damage, torn ligaments or tendons, or muscle damage.
However, there are scenarios where small injuries may be compensable. For example, an abrasion to the face that leaves a permanent scar is usually considered life-altering enough to warrant compensation. Similarly, some states allow recovery of damages for emotional trauma, although many require physical injuries before they'll consider trauma claims.
Someone to Blame
To have a chance of getting money, you'll need to blame someone for your injuries. Liability is assigned based on the notion of a duty of care. This is a legal obligation that each of us has in certain situations where our actions risk injuring others. Normally, the duty of care only emerges if we elect to do something. When someone opens the doors of a business to the public or gets into their car, for example, they assume a duty to try to prevent others from being harmed by those actions.
A handful of scenarios don't require this sort of decision. These usually fall under strict liability, and they typically involve public safety concerns attached to known dangerous activities. Strict liability is attached to most types of licensed work. Also, owners of exotic animals assume strict liability. In these cases, the strictly liable party is blamed once something happens regardless of the relationship with the victim or the lack of one.
Time of the Incident
In the vast majority of injury cases, a statute of limitations applies. To prevent people from suing others, for example, 20 years from now, most states require you to file a claim within two to three years of an incident. Likewise, many states provide shorter periods for suing the government, often months instead of years. However, some cases involving exposure to toxic materials, repetitive stress injuries, or sexual abuse may have longer or no limitations.