When Is An Injury Legally Actionable?

Personal Injury Lawyer

Every individual’s injuries occur under unique circumstances. While car accidents, sports trauma, slips and falls, work-related physical harm, and dog bites – just to name a few – occur every day, no two injury victims experience the exact same set of circumstances leading up to sustaining harm. As a result, it is important to carefully evaluate an individual’s injury situation before making any assumptions about the relative strengths and weaknesses of their legal case.

Sometimes, an injury situation isn’t legally actionable. Perhaps a car accident was caused by a wild animal darting into the road. Even though everyone involved in the collision was driving safely, the accident couldn’t have been avoided due to the way in which the animal appeared and then moved across the road. It was no human or legal entity’s fault that this situation unfolded, so no one can be held legally responsible for the resulting harm.

However, most injury scenarios are legally actionable when they are caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous conduct of one or more parties. For example, a slip and fall scenario in a parking lot is usually actionable when the property owner either knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed on their property and their failure to properly address it resulted in another’s arm. Also, a nursing home abuse or neglect scenario is legally actionable when a caregiver in a position of trust intentionally abuses a resident or – either intentionally or unintentionally – neglects their basic needs.

Both of these examples illustrate ways in which the negligent, reckless, and intentionally dangerous conduct of one or more parties can lead an injury victim to be rightfully owed compensation for their harm. Some cases are obviously actionable and some cases are less clear. It often takes the nuanced professional assessment of an objective-minded attorney to properly identify whether a victim’s circumstances are actionable or not.

Is Pursuing Compensation the Right Move?

As an experienced accident injury lawyer – including those who practice at Yearin Law Office – can confirm, it isn’t always worth pursuing compensation, even when a victim’s situation is legally actionable. This is because the compensation value of a case may not outweigh the costs of fighting for that compensation.

The value of an actionable case generally comes down to two issues. First, was the victim partially to blame for their own harm? Second, what kind of losses did the victim sustain as a result of that harm?

If the victim was partially responsible for what happened to them, their compensation award will be reduced proportionally. Meaning, if they were 40% to blame, they can only seek 60% of the value of their harm from others responsible for it.

The objective value of losses such as medical bills and lost wages combined with the subjective value of losses such as pain and suffering – when taken together – make up the value of a victim’s case. If that value significantly outweighs the legal cost of fighting for rightful compensation, pursuing an actionable case is likely worth a victim’s time and effort.