What is a Personal Injury Cause of Action?
A personal injury cause of action is a set of facts that entitles a person to pursue monetary compensation for their accident-related losses. This type of lawsuit is a form of legal action known as a tort. This action is unlike criminal cases that can lead to jail time or fines. Instead, the remedy for these tort claims is monetary compensation from the responsible party or their insurance company.
No two causes of action are the same. However, there are important similarities between these cases that make the guidance of a New York City personal injury lawyer vital to your case. Contact us at Douglas & London to learn more.
What makes a successful personal injury cause of action
Suffering an injury is not enough to lead to a successful personal injury lawsuit. Instead, you must first establish that you have a cause of action for negligence against the defendant. Proving negligence requires that you establish four specific elements. These elements include:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant violated that duty
- The violation led to your injuries
- Your injuries resulted in measurable damages.
You can only recover monetary compensation by demonstrating that all four elements are met. This process starts with establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care. If they did not, you would not be entitled to compensation. However, there are many duties that people owe to each other. For example, all drivers owe one another the duty to operate their vehicles safely. Meeting this element is more challenging in some cases than others.
If the defendant has breached the duty of care
It is not enough to prove the defendant owed you a duty of care. You must also establish that they failed to uphold it. Essentially, the defendant has breached the duty of care they owe you if you’ve suffered injuries due to their careless, reckless, or intentional actions. Examples of breached duties of care include negligent drivers causing a car accident or property owners failing to address dangerous hazards.
After proving this, the next step is to link that breach to your injuries. After all, a defendant can only be held accountable for the injuries they caused. This element is known as causation.
Finally, your injuries must result in measurable damages. Even if all of the other elements are met, you are not entitled to compensation unless you’ve suffered damages. The damages that come with a personal injury claim can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium, among other things.
Common types of personal injury causes of action
Many circumstances can result in a personal injury cause of action. The most common fact pattern involves car accidents, which can result in devastating and, at times, fatal injuries.
Another common type of personal injury cause of action results from slip and fall accidents. If you slip, trip, or fall on the property of another person, they could face liability for your injuries. That being said, a property owner must have failed to adequately address the hazard that caused your injury for you to have a valid claim against them.
Medical malpractice can also lead to a cause of action. If you are injured, for example, during a surgery gone wrong or due to some other medical error, you could hold a cause of action against the medical professional responsible for the mistake. Other examples include sporting injuries, defective products, or even violent crime. A personal injury lawyer can assist you if you have a cause of action following your accident.
Contact us for a free consultation
Understanding a personal injury cause of action is only the first step in pursuing compensation for your injuries. For a thorough review of your claim, schedule a free consultation with Douglas & London right away.