People often call me to determine whether they have a personal injury case. There are three factors that must exist in a personal injury case for it to work. Those three factors are: 1) injury; 2) fault; and, 3) ability to pay. These three factors must exist whether the case involves a Metairie car accident, Houma slip and fall, or a premises defect in Baton Rouge.
The accident must cause an injury to the plaintiff (victim). Without an injury, there can be no personal injury case. The injury can be psychological only, but it must have been the result of the accident. However, in most cases, for a personal injury case to be successful there must be a physical injury to the body that can be diagnosed by a doctor and causally related to the accident. For example, after car accidents most victims suffer injuries to the spine and treat with chiropractors or other medical professionals, who diagnose the injuries and opine whether the injuries were the result of the vehicular collisions.
The accident must have been someone else’s fault. An injured victim cannot sue himself or herself. Thus, the fault must be attributable to someone else. And that someone else cannot be immune from suit. For example, an injured victim cannot make a personal injury claim against his or her employer or co-worker if he or she was hurt “on the job” because of the exclusivity provision of the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act. See La. R.S. 23:1032.
Ability to Pay
You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip. In other words, the person or company responsible for the accident, must have the ability to pay for your injuries and the related damages. If the at-fault person or company is insolvent and uninsured, then no recovery can be made against the offending person or company. An exception to this would be in car accidents when the injured victims have UM insurance.
If all three factors exist, a claim can be successful and the injured victim will be entitled to recover the damages typically available in personal injury claims.
The above is intended for information purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice. A more detailed analysis of the facts must take place before it can be determined if a plaintiff has a meritable claim worthy of pursuing. Lawyer Don D’Aunoy is a Metairie personal injury and car accident attorney. Although his office is in Metairie, Lawyer Don provides FREE house calls to prospective clients outside of Metairie. He offers FREE consultations. If you have questions about a potential case, please feel free to contact him today: 504-508-6414.