Accidents happen every day. Whether on the streets and highways, in stores or other public places, injuries to innocent people can occur. This can involve the inconvenience of going to an emergency room to be checked out, and suffering for a few days while bumps and scrapes heal, or it can involve long term, or permanent disability or even death. The law provides that any person or business entity that causes an accident, either by careless action, or neglect, must compensate (pay money damages) to any innocent person who suffers an injury as a result of such an accident. There are three major categories of damages that must be monetarily compensated:
1. Medical expense: Any diagnosis or treatment that is necessary for the relief of pain, and the healing of a given injury.
2. Lost income: Any lost wages or earnings resulting from an injured persons inability to work due to a given injury.
3. Pain and suffering: When a person experiences pain and suffering from an injury due to the careless action or neglect of a person or business entity. There are other less common categories of damages that must also be compensated with dollars when they are the result of an accident.
4. Loss of a normal life: When a person is unable to do certain things, not related to earning income, but otherwise an important part of their normal life, such as participating in a sport or hobby, or even driving a car, as a result of an injury.
5. Loss of companionship: When a person loses a loved one such as a parent, spouse, or child as a consequence of a debilitating injury or death resulting from an injury.
The personal injury attorney needs three things to pursue monetary compensation on behalf of a client:
1. A serious injury: There is no minimum dollar amount of medical expense or other objective test to determine whether an injury is serious enough to warrant pursuing a claim or a lawsuit. This is determined on a case-by-case basis considering the injury itself and other circumstances.
2. Liability: This means that the injury was caused by the careless action or neglect of some other person or entity. Some injuries are caused by things other than careless action or neglect by another, such as, lightening, high wind or other natural occurrences. Other injuries can be caused by the injured person’s own carelessness. In cases like these, there is no person or entity that can be held liable for the damages.
3. Deep pockets: In cases where the first two things are present, a serious injury, and liability the attorney needs a source of funds from which compensation can be obtained.
For example, in a case where there is a serious injury resulting from an automobile collision, where there is clear liability and the party at fault has insurance all three things are present. On the other hand if the injury is minor, or there is no insurance, or there is no clearly negligent act or omission that caused the injury, the attorney does not have everything he needs to recover monetary compensation.
Whenever there is a serious injury, the attorney will use his experience, ingenuity, and tenacity to find a viable theory of liability against a person or entity with sufficient funds to pay money damages. Paul C. Sheils has been doing just that since 1973.