We have all heard the phrase, “I’ll call my lawyer”. Usually, this phrase is used in jest or uttered during an emotionally charged disagreement. Although many people feel “it is the principle of the matter”, there are better ways to decide whether you have a case or not than an outburst of emotion.
First, you may have suffered an injury. Normally, we think of the injury as a physical injury, but you can also have a monetary injury. Second, the injury must have been caused by the person you intend to sue. Third, you must be entitled to recover damage or be entitled so some legal relief.
All cases are made up of causes of action, sometimes called claims. The cause of action set forth what elements you must prove in order to prevail in your case. In a personal injury case you must prove the person who caused your injury was negligent. Specifically, you must prove the other person had some duty to act in a certain way, and he or she failed to perform that duty. For example, if you are rear-ended you must prove that the other driver should have stopped prior to hitting you, but failed to do so.
The person bringing the law suit has the “burden of proof”. In Alabama, the burden of proof in civil cases is a “preponderance of evidence.” This means you must prove that it is more likely than not that the other person caused your harm.
Remember, if you have been in a wreck, hurt at work, or fallen somewhere, you only have two years from the date of the injury to file suit in Alabama.
Handling your own claim or law suit can be difficult and confusing. Be sure to seek the advice and counsel of a qualified attorney so your case can be properly evaluated. Most personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free consultation.