Injuries and accidents are always tragic, painful parts of life. But in some situations, the tragedy could have been prevented – if not for the fault of another. If you find yourself in one of these circumstances, you may choose to pursue a personal injury claim against those responsible.
Standing up to a big corporation, an insurance company, an employer or any at-fault party can be daunting and complicated. When you contact us, we will give you a true sense of whether a lawsuit is merited, then guide you through each step along the way. Many personal injury lawsuits end in settlement; however, in a situation where a trial is necessary, we are ready to fight for you.
As one of the largest firms in Siouxland, we have the ability and resources to handle any personal injury case including the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Boating Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Worker’s Compensation
- Wrongful Death
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Pedestrian/Bicycling Accidents
- Injuries to Children
“Do I have a case?”
Every personal injury case is different. We know that you need all the details to truly decide if pursuing a lawsuit is the best course of action. We also know that your injury has already caused you great pain, and we want to hear your story so you can make a decision concerning legal action as you heal.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to start somewhere simple. Have a look at the questions below. If you find that most of them apply to you, you may wish to discuss your case further with an attorney.
Please note that this self-evaluation is not offered as legal counsel, and its conclusions are neither an endorsement nor a discouragement of your case. To get clear answers and honest advice, contact one of our attorneys.
1. Has there been harm?
If you can point to a specific injury or other harm you’ve suffered, it will make pursuing a case more feasible.
Some types of injuries are easy to prove: accidents from falling materials on construction sites, for example. Emotional and mental harm can be more difficult to prove than other types of injuries, but their effects are just as real.
No matter the circumstances, we can help a court recognize the harm you’ve suffered.
2. Have you recovered fully, or do you believe you fully understand the ramifications of the harm you’ve suffered?
When you settle a personal injury lawsuit or pursue it successfully through trial, you will receive compensation proportionate to the harm you’ve already suffered and in consideration of the future impact it may have on your life. Once the case concludes, you will not be able to bring the matter up in court again. If you later realize something else that you could have sued for, you will not be able to go back for an adjustment.
It isn’t always immediately obvious how far an injury will reach, and it can be wiser to wait (with consideration of legal limitations on time) until you at least understand the scope of what has happened to you.
If circumstances come to light after your suit that reveal new and unconsidered harm done to you, you can pursue another case connected with these new aspects.
Those who are injured do not always pursue their case themselves. For example, if your child was injured by a doctor’s error during delivery, then you can pursue a case on his or her behalf.
In some cases, the person who suffered the harm is killed by it. These kinds of suits – wrongful death lawsuits – are also a kind of personal injury lawsuit, and they are pursued by the executor of the deceased person’s estate. The same time limits apply, starting from the time of death or from the recognition of the harm behind the death.
3. Did the harm occur within the last two to four years, or did something identifiable change so that you recognized harm you’d already suffered?
Statutes of limitations govern how long you have to sue after you realize the harm you’ve suffered. Sometimes, the realization is immediate and complete. In other cases, years may pass before you learn what has harmed you. As long as your filing falls within the given timeframe after you learned about your injury, you can sue.
The statute of limitations on personal injury cases varies between U.S. states. In Iowa, you have two years to file your case. In South Dakota, you have three. In Nebraska, you have four. The state laws that affect you will depend, in most cases, on the state in which you were injured.
Combined with the considerations that the previous question presents, legal counsel is needed to select the ideal time to pursue a case. Generally, it is wise to speak with an attorney as soon as possible; information and evidence will be freshest immediately after your injury. Your attorney can help you to begin collecting it, even if you intend to pursue your claim later.
4. Is there a specific person or entity you wish to sue?
You will need to identify whoever you feel is responsible for your injury. This does not need to be a person; it can also be a company, an organization, an employer, a manufacturer, a government agency, a hospital, a public entity or any combination thereof.
Multiple parties can share responsibility for your injury, and different parties can be held responsible for different elements of the overall harm you suffered.
5. Does the person or entity you wish to sue have a duty to you?
The legal idea behind this duty is straightforward: is it someone’s fault that you were injured? This last consideration is one of the most important. It is natural to be angry whenever tragedy strikes, but it is not always within anyone’s control. In order to have grounds for a lawsuit, the person or entity must have had a duty to you, and by acting or by choosing not to act, that person or entity caused you harm.
When we say that a person or entity is “at fault” for your personal injury, we mean that the person or entity promised to help keep you safe because of the existing relationship you had. Common examples include a doctor’s duty to make reasonable medical choices in his or her patients’ treatment and an employer’s duty to provide employees with training, proper equipment and a safe workspace.
It isn’t always so explicit; drivers, for example, all have a responsibility to drive with care and concern for the other drivers on the road. By getting behind the wheel and driving, drivers commit to that responsibility without ever signing a contract.
Under all of the above circumstances, true accidents can still occur. In these situations, everyone behaved according to their duty to one another, but you were injured because of uncontrollable circumstances that affected them. In cases like these, the person or entity that harmed you cannot be held liable. In order to know for sure, you need to contact a personal injury attorney.