The Fundamental Components of a Personal Injury Lawsuit
As personal injury attorneys, we often hear the words “I want to sue.” While many lawsuits might make sense, many do not. There are three basic components to most personal injury actions: liability, damages and collection (or remedy).
- Collection (or Remedy). When evaluating a personal injury case, attorneys most often start with the third component: collection (or remedy). No matter how severe the injury and how clear the liability – if there are no assets worth pursuing and no remedy to recover – then why bother with a lawsuit? The most common sources of monetary recovery come from insurance – usually automobile, general liability and malpractice insurance. Some other sources of recovery may be from large companies or individuals with significant assets. However, even if liability and damages are established, it may be difficult to actually collect from individuals or small businesses with insufficient assets. A common example is an assault & battery case where the assailant may have done wrong and caused severe injury but has insufficient assets for any recovery.
- Liability. No matter how big the damages, unless liability can be established, there is no lawsuit to be had. Liability involves a very careful assessment by a qualified attorney. Liability suggests some wrongdoing. Simply falling on water left on the floor of a store does not suggest wrongdoing by the store unless the store owner or an employee put the water there or knew it was there for a long time and did nothing about it.
- Damages. There are instances where there might be clear liability – and a source of recovery – but unless there in sufficient injury, then a lawsuit typically will not be worth pursuing. For example, many times auto crashes occur where no one is injured.
Personal injury lawsuits require a great expenditure of time and money – by both the attorneys and the parties involved. As a start, it is important to understand these three fundamental components. This article provides general information only. For more details please be sure to contact an attorney.