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Personal Injury

What You Need to Prove in a Personal Injury Case

September 16, 2020

Many clients come to us as a result of accidents where it’s obvious the other party was at fault.  Unfortunately, no matter how obvious it is, you still need to prove your case. Even if you don’t plan to go to court, the insurance company will demand strict proof of your claim before it will pay you any compensation. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, a Billings personal injury attorney can help you build your case so that you can get the compensation you deserve. 

The Elements of a Personal Injury Case

Every type of legal claim has certain components, referred to as elements, that must be proven in order to proceed with your case. In a personal injury case, you have to prove the following: 

  1. The other party owed you a duty; 
  2. The other party breached that duty; and
  3. You were injured as a result of the other party’s breach. 

This is someone difficult to understand in the abstract but makes more sense when using a specific example. In the context of a car accident case, you need to prove the following: 

  1.  The other driver owed you a duty to drive safely.
  2. The other driver breached that duty when they ran a red light. 
  3. You were seriously injured when your car was struck by the other driver. 

The Other Party’s Legal Duty to You

The duty that the other party owed to you will vary according to the type of personal injury claim you may have. In a slip and fall case, for example, you will have to prove that the property owner owed you a duty to maintain the property and warn you of any hazards. Whether the other driver owed you a duty is rarely an issue in car accident cases, but this is not the issue in every type of personal injury claim. An experienced Billings personal injury attorney will know what you need to prove in order to establish this element of your case. 

The Breach

Proving that the other party breached their duty to you is typically the crux of most personal injury cases. This is where you typically need to prove that the other party was negligent – that they somehow failed to take reasonable care to prevent an accident from occurring. This can be difficult to prove, but a skilled Billings personal injury attorney will be able to identify the pertinent facts. The following are examples of different types of negligence that would be considered a breach of the other party’s legal duty: 

  • A department store owner refuses to make necessary repairs to a broken escalator.
  • A doctor does not thoroughly review their patient’s medical history and then prescribes the wrong medication
  • A resident in a nursing home falls and is seriously injured because the facility is understaffed and can’t meet the residents’ needs. 

Your Injuries

Finally, you have to prove that the other party’s breach led to your injuries. While this may seem obvious, proving this element is more challenging than you may think. You need to keep meticulous copies of all of your medical bills, lost income, and any other expenses arising from your accident. Your medical records need to reflect that your injury was caused by the accident, the nature of your injury, your treatment plan, and your expected recovery. A Billings personal injury attorney can help you compile these documents and make sure your medical records are in order before proceeding with your claim. 

Injured? Contact Billings Personal Injury Attorney Jim Ragain

With decades of experience, Billings personal injury attorney Jim Ragain has helped thousands of people in Billings get the compensation they needed to put their accident behind them. If you’ve been injured and don’t know where to turn, contact Ragain & Clark at 406-651-8888. We can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help you get back on your feet.