When you’ve suffered a personal injury you believe was caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s not always easy to prove liability. There are certain steps you must take, and there are certain challenges that must be overcome before you can make a fair recovery.
Common Challenges Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Your personal injury case will officially begin when you file a complaint in a Virginia trial court. Before you file a complaint, however, you need to:
- Know whether you have a cause of action. You have a viable claim if you can prove that the person(s) who hurt you owed you a duty of care, breached the duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable person, and that breach caused your injuries. You will also need to consider if you were, in part, responsible for the accident and how much of the fault is attributable to your actions.
- Identify the defendant. You need to know whose negligence caused your injuries. This may be one or more individuals or businesses.
- Know about all of the legal deadlines. Your deadline for filing a complaint in court is governed by the Virginia statute of limitations. Typically, you have two years from the time you were hurt to file a case. If you file a case after the statute of limitations has expired, you can expect the defendant to file a motion to dismiss the claim. Once your case has been filed, additional deadlines will apply for responding to pleadings, filing motions, and conducting discovery.
- Know how to get and preserve evidence. You won’t recover damages unless you can prove who was at fault for your injuries. The legal discovery process gives you specific ways to gather evidence such as through interrogatories, depositions, and requests for production of documents. Additionally, spoliation of evidence letters may need to be sent to other parties to prevent them from destroying valuable evidence.
- Understand how to deal with pre-existing injuries. You may have a previous injury or an existing medical condition at the time you are hurt in an accident. This will not prevent you from making a personal injury recovery. However, you will have to prove that the injuries for which you are seeking damages were caused by or worsened by the accident.
- Understand what your case is worth. You need to decide whether filing a personal injury claim is worth the effort, time, and expense. In order to conduct this cost benefit analysis, you need to know the estimated value of the damages you may recover for things such as your past and future medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering.
- Anticipate the likely defenses. The defendant is going to try to limit the amount that you recover. You can best handle these defenses by anticipating them and using evidence and sound arguments to refute them.
- Know where to file your case. If your claim for damages is less than $25,000, you may file your case in a Virginia general district court. If your claim for damages exceeds $25,000, your case should be filed in a Virginia circuit court. There are advantages and disadvantages to both courts.
Finding an Experienced Attorney Doesn’t Have to Be One of Your Challenges
Our experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers are just a click or a phone call away. We are committed to helping you with all the challenges involved in a personal injury case and any others that are unique to your claim. To learn more, please contact us via this website or by phone for a free and confidential consultation today.