Elements of a Good Personal Injury Lawsuit

A good personal injury lawsuit is one that contains liability, damages, and collectability, and if any of these three items are missing from the case, the results will not prove favorable for the plaintiff. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have to prove all three elements during the trial or settlement proceedings. The first item needed for a good personal injury lawsuit is the involvement of liability.

Liability for Injury

Liability is defined as an action committed by a defendant or group of defendants that is recognized by the law as wrong. Examples of liability include running a stop sign, not yielding to oncoming traffic, selling a product that is defective or manufacturing a product that is defective. This first part of a personal injury case, liability, is one of the most difficult items to prove in a court of law. Each time of personal injury claim has different statutes of limitations as to the amount of time a person has to bring their lawsuit to the court.

Damage or Injury Requirement

The second item involved in and needed for a strong personal injury lawsuit is damages. If damages are not present in a personal injury case than the case will not hold up in court. Most experts recommend that if there are no damages present during an accident then a lawsuit should not be filed even if there was liability involved. Most states recognize the following items as personal injury damages:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain
  • Mental Anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Physical impairment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of household services
  • Wrongful death damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Prejudgment and post-judgment interest
  • Attorney's fees (sometimes)
  • Costs of court

Not every one of these damages is present in each individual personal injury case and some states might not recognize all of these damages either. Courts do allow damages that occurred in the past, before the trial, and ones that will occur in the future, after the trial takes place.


The third and final piece needed for a strong personal injury case is collectability. Collectability is when the defendant in a case must make good on their judgment. A judgment is a piece of paper that a plaintiff will be awarded that says someone owes them money for the injuries occurred as a result of the personal injury accident. Sometimes, a plaintiff will not be able to collect on their judgment because the defendant in the case does not have enough money to pay the judgment or does not have the insurance that would normally cover a judgment.

If one or more of these items cannot be proved by your attorney, you will more than likely lose the case that you presented in civil courts. Also, a lawyer will recommend not going to court or filing a lawsuit against a defendant in a personal injury case, if all three of the above items mentioned are not present in the case. Even if damages have been incurred as a result of an accident, but liability and collectability are not present, a lawyer will still advise against filing a lawsuit. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident that results in personal injury, consult an attorney immediately so that your statute of limitations does not run out.

If you've been injured, and think someone else may be liable, consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options for compensation.
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