If you’ve ever experienced an injury that was someone else’s fault, you might have considered taking some kind of legal action. Then again, seeking a settlement or going to court can be expensive, time consuming, and stressful, so it may not be worth going if you’ve only ended up with a couple of bumps and bruises.
So what types of personal injury are “worth” seeking legal action over?
Types of Personal Injury
Most personal injury lawyers will be able to help you with many types of personal injury, including physical injuries and other forms of harm from:
- Car accidents. If you’re involved in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident that isn’t your fault, you may be able to get compensation from insurance, but a personal injury case could land you even more compensation—especially considering that insurance companies try to minimize costs.
- Public transit accidents. If you’re injured while riding public transportation, a driver, engineer, or mechanic may be at fault for your injuries.
- Premises liability incidents. Stores, offices, and other public places are generally required to keep their premises in safe, working order. If you slip and fall because a shopkeeper failed to keep their sidewalks clear of ice, they may be held responsible.
- Defective products. There are many types of defective products, but they all share a commonality; if the product is used in a reasonable fashion, but results in bodily or mental harm, the company (or companies) that created it could be held responsible.
- Medical negligence. You reasonably expect your doctors and medical professionals to provide you with a degree of care that allows you to get better. If a false diagnosis, improper treatment, or other factor results in your health deteriorating, or causes you direct injury or harm, you can hold those medical professionals responsible for the damages.
- Workplace incidents. Most workplace-related incidents that result in harm are going to be covered under workers’ compensation, even if the incident is your fault. However, if the accident was due to gross negligence or was initiated intentionally, you may have a case against your workplace.
Of course, if any of these injuries was directly or indirectly your fault, your case might weaken.
The Severity of Personal Injury
We also need to consider the severity of your personal injury. In general, if you can walk away from the accident with just bumps and bruises, and no real long-term costs or consequences, you probably won’t want to seek a personal injury claim. However, personal injury cases can help you in several ways, and compensate for many types of costs:
- Costs of medical treatment. The obvious costs are your direct medical expenses, which tend to add up quickly. Even a single ambulance ride or hospital visit could cost you thousands of dollars, so it’s important to seek legal action when possible to help you compensate for those expenses. The higher the bills, the more important it becomes—even if your health insurance is helping to cover some of those costs.
- Level of physical pain. You should also consider the level of physical pain you’ve been forced to experience, both in the immediate aftermath of the accident or incident and in the weeks and months following it. You deserve to be compensated for that subjective pain, especially if it keeps you from living your best life.
- Mental and emotional stress. Any type of pain is mentally stressful, and if you’ve been physically prevented from participating in the hobbies or activities you love, you could experience even more mental suffering. You can win compensation for these levels of mental and emotional stress, so include them among your considerations.
- Lost paychecks. If you’ve lost work due to your injury, it’s even more important than you seek legal action, since you may be able to recover those lost paychecks.
Personal injury cases aren’t always clean and straightforward, of course. Sometimes, they can take months to settle, and if you lose, you may be responsible for paying a legal fee. However, if there’s strong evidence in your favor and you’ve endured significant distress, a case is almost always worth pursuing.
The Bottom Line: Talk to a Lawyer
Understanding the types of personal injury that exist, and what types of compensation you could potentially seek can help you make a better decision with whether to pursue legal action. However, every situation is unique, and it’s hard to make a firm judgment call without expertise in the legal profession. Accordingly, before you finalize your decision, it’s a good idea to consult with a lawyer to see if you have a case. Most personal injury attorneys will offer a free consultation to see if you have a case, so you aren’t out anything if you decide against it.