If you or a family member has recently been injured in an accident, the time is now to take action in moving forward with filing a lawsuit to recover your damages. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to identify and locate the proper defendants, collect the necessary evidence to prove fault, and to clearly show that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions. Here are the basic steps in filing a lawsuit after you have been injured in an accident.
Who Are the Liable Defendants?
One of the most important steps in filing a lawsuit is knowing who exactly it is you are going to file the lawsuit against. If you are in a car accident where you were hit by another driver, it may be clear that the other driver is liable, but there can be numerous other defendants as well.
In the case of a truck accident, the truck driver could be liable, and the truck driver’s employer could be liable along with the owner of the truck and the owner of the freight. In addition, if the truck was poorly maintained or designed, the manufacturer and others might be liable. The manufacturer of your vehicle could even be liable if a defect played a role in the accident. In some cases, municipal authorities are liable for poorly designed intersections and roadways. This is only one example, and in every type of accident an experienced personal injury attorney will assess the situation to determine all potentially liable defendants.
What Legal Claims Can You Bring Against Them?
Along with determining the potentially liable defendants, your attorney will determine what types of legal claims will make those defendants liable. In many accidents, the legal claim is negligence, which involves proving that a defendant’s careless actions breached a legal duty to you and thereby caused you to suffer damages. If that defendant was acting in the scope of his or her employment at the time, the employer could be vicariously liable as well. Other claims that might be brought in an accident case include:
- Strict liability for a product defect based on a design or manufacturing defect
- Negligent hiring of an employee who caused you injury
- Negligent infliction of emotional distress
- Breach of warranty
Proving the Defendant’s Fault
To win your lawsuit, you will have to prove that the defendants were at fault in causing your injury. The exact nature of this fault will depend upon the specific legal claim being brought. In a basic negligence case, your attorney will need to present facts to the court showing that the defendant (or the defendant’s employee) engaged in some risky behavior which was objectively unreasonable (meaning the average person would not have acted in this way), that it was foreseeable that the behavior would cause you injury, and that it did cause you injury.
Because accidents often happen in only a few seconds, this is why it is critical to begin the process of investigating the accident as soon as possible to support your case. Physical evidence such as tire marks in a car accident and eyewitness testimony and expert testimony are often key to proving fault in an accident case.
Proving Your Damages
Finally, you will want to prove your damages so that you are fully compensated for all damages that you have suffered. Your attorney will work with your medical providers and experts if need be to show that you should receive financial recovery for all past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income and reduced earning potential.
Bringing the Lawsuit Itself
All of the above information will be included in the filings your attorney will make in court, which include the initial complaint and any responses to filings made by the defendants. Ideally, your attorney can win a sufficient settlement before going to trial, but in some cases going to trial to win is necessary to recover the damages you deserve.
Work with Proven Leaders in Personal Injury in the Inland Empire
The complex litigation attorneys at McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP have won over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of individuals and their families across the Inland Empire and beyond. If you have been injured in an accident due to the wrongdoing of another, contact one of our personal injury attorneys today to discuss how we can be of assistance to you in bringing your case.