The purpose of a damages award in a personal injury case is to make the victim “whole.” This essentially means the victim will be compensated for what was lost as a result of their injury. The only way to accomplish that is through a monetary award. As our personal injury lawyer understands, catastrophic injuries are not always the result of a car accident or other personal injury. What clients need to recognize is that not every type of injury will be sufficient to support a claim for personal injury in court.
Not all injuries are severe
When most people think of personal injury lawsuits, they expect the injuries to be severe and gruesome. Broken bones, amputations, burns and serious head trauma are not always the result. We tend to hear about those types of cases more often because the headlines are shocking, but most other personal injury cases do not rise to that level. In fact, car accidents and slip-and-fall injuries are usually minor. So, the question may become whether the injury you suffered is serious enough to file a personal injury lawsuit. Our personal injury lawyer can help you answer that question.
What you must prove in your personal injury lawsuit
Again, the purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to compensate victims for their injuries and losses from the individual(s) or entities who caused the injuries. However, that does not mean anyone with any type of injury can automatically bring a personal injury claim in court. Damages are the key to every lawsuit. If your injury or loss is purely theoretical or so minor that it is impossible to place a value on the loss, then your personal injury claim is less likely to be successful.
Pennsylvania man with decade-old bone bruise
In an interesting case out of Pennsylvania, the court dismissed the case of a man who alleges he suffered a bone bruise because, the court found, the injury was not serious enough to warrant a personal injury claim. According to the lawsuit, when the man was 12 years old (nine years prior), he and his mother were involved in an automobile accident. He was riding in the back seat and bruised his knee. At the time, he experienced some pain and wore a knee brace. Eventually, he grew too big for the brace and did not obtain another one. Basically, the injury sometimes affected his ability to play sports as a child and to perform household chores.
However, despite his description of his injuries, there was very little evidence to support the alleged severity. In fact, he is currently a member of the Naval Reserve where his service does not appear to have been hampered. More importantly, a more recent medical exam established that any pain he was currently experiencing was more likely a result of his active lifestyle as opposed to the automobile accident.
Court dismissed the unsubstantial claim
Based on the evidence, the trial court dismissed the claims due to the plaintiff’s failure to prove that his injuries were sufficient to justify a personal injury claim. The appellate court agreed that his claims did not rise to the level of a serious impairment of his bodily functions and there was no evidence of a significant impact on his normal daily activities.
Lack of medical support for claim
According to the court, the man did not contradict the results of the independent medical exam which did not support his claim that his knee bruise caused long-term harm that should be compensated. Without proof of sufficient harm, the courts decided that the case did not rise to the necessary level to properly support a personal injury claim.
How much can you recover for damages?
The amount of compensation you may recover after you suffer a personal injury depends on the type of damages you suffered. Each claim is different, both factually and with regard to which laws apply to your claim. The most important element used in determining the value of a car accident claim is the nature and seriousness of your injuries. Your personal injury lawyer can help you determine your potential recovery.
If you have questions regarding proving injuries or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact a personal injury lawyer at the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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