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RI Personal Injury | Personal Injury 101

This article was reviewed by Rhode Island Auto Accident Lawyer, David Slepkow 401-437-1100. Article written By Jason G. Epstein

Having a complete understanding of the basic factors involved in a personal injury case is the first step towards deciding whether or not you have a viable injury claim. Everybody gets injured in some regard at some point in their life, but the vast majority of these injuries do not give reason for to hire a personal injury attorney. In general, you have a potential personal injury case if someone else is at-fault for the injury. There are three main aspects that define these cases, and every personal injury claim must have all of them to be viable.

1) Negligence: To have a potential personal injury case, someone else needs to be responsible for your injury. Their action has to have been negligent – either they did something they shouldn’t have, or did not do something they should have. This is a standard that applies to everybody, including individuals, groups of people and businesses. Individual negligence can happen in a variety of ways, but one example would be if someone ran a red light and drove into a pedestrian crossing the street. Obviously, in that case, the driver did something they should not have, and inflicted harm onto someone else. Business negligence is another common cause of personal injury. One example would be a restaurant causing food poisoning by serving out-dated meat or poultry. In either case, injury or harm is being caused by someone else’s wrongdoing.

2) Damages: You must lose something as a result of the accident. If you are a pedestrian that is hit by a car that ran a red light, but miraculously land on your feet without any injury whatsoever, then you have nothing to sue for. However, if the accident results in you breaking bones and stuck with medical bills, then you have something to actually sue for. Damages come in many forms, but the most common are related to physical injury, property damage, and pain and suffering. In the case of the pedestrian accident, there would likely need to be further compensation for the mental and emotional harm that came along with the accident.

3) Causation: The key to every personal injury case, however, is finding causation between the negligence and damages. Some causation is very obvious and straightforward, but the majority of personal injury cases run into complications due to the persistence of insurance companies to deny or lower claims. If someone comes up to you and hits you in the arm with a baseball bat and your arm breaks, the causation of the break is very clear. However, in something like the pedestrian accident case where you suffer whiplash or deep tissue injuries, it is difficult to both prove that the injuries are real and that the pain is directly a result of the accident. Causation is usually the most difficult part of personal injury cases, and can make or break the final outcome.


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Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.

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