If you are thinking about bringing a personal injury action against someone who has caused you injury or damage you will have to be clear as a bell from the outset about a number of issues.
Let’s take a look at them.
How the accident occurred
You will need to be able to explain in clear, plain language what actually happened. The insurance company for the person you are claiming against will ask you this at the outset, and it will be required for your personal injury summons, and later on in Court if it goes that far.
2. What were the acts of negligence that you allege?
To win your case you will need to prove that it was not your own fault or an act of God or just “one of those things”; you will have to prove the other party, the one you are holding liable, was negligent. Legal negligence is different from what you may understand the word negligence to mean in its ordinary, everyday use.
To prove legal negligence sufficient to win your case you will need to prove:
- The person you hold liable had a duty of care to you
- The person failed to discharge his duty of care-that is, he failed to act as a “reasonable person” would have acted in the circumstances
- You suffered loss and/or damage
- The person you hold liable caused this loss/damage by their actions.
3. Who did you report the accident to?
4. Was there any witnesses? If so, who were they?
5. What are your injuries?
This will only arise if you are claiming damages for a personal injury; sometimes you may be lucky and only suffer material damage and financial loss, but no personal injury.
You will need a medical report to prove your injuries; later on, depending on the nature of your injury you may need a specialist medical report, particularly if the case is going to Court.
It will be useful, therefore, to make a comprehensive note at the time the accident occurs as it may prove extremely useful later on, especially if you are suffering from shock. You can make a written note or even an audio recording on your phone.
This may allow you later on to fill in any blanks in your recollection of events, how the accident occurred, and so on. A written note of witnesses and any other relevant facts will also prove useful.
The 5 questions above do not only apply to accidents or motor crashes; they apply to any claim where you are alleging you have suffered an injury as a result of the negligence of another.
This could easily occur in the workplace, for example. You may be thinking about making a claim against your employer for a tort (civil wrong) arising from an injury you have suffered in the workplace as a result of bullying, harassment, or a stress related injury.
Honestly answering the 5 questions above might help identify weaknesses in your case and give you a good idea of whether you have a reasonable chance of success or not.