Do I Have the Right to File a Personal Injury Claim for Minor Injuries?
When most people think of a personal injury claim, visions of multiple broken bones, surgeries, and long hospital stays come to mind.
Although this may be the case for many lawsuits, other not-as-severe bodily injuries still fall under the umbrella for receiving compensation. Other not-so-visible wounds could also warrant filing a personal injury claim.
If you’re confused about your minor injuries and how they relate to a personal injury claim, we’ll provide you with some valuable information.
Who Can File a Personal Injury Claim?
Before we delve into the details of what constitutes an injury that can be included in a personal injury claim, it’s crucial to understand exactly what the requirements are for who can file. The legal requirements to file a personal injury claim can get murky and aren’t as cut-and-dry as you might think. If you’ve been injured and believe you should be compensated, contact a personal injury attorney at Herschensohn Law to guide you through the process.
To file a personal injury claim, the most important factor is being able to prove negligence. In a nutshell, negligence occurs when a party fails to exercise the level of care expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances. If you’ve been involved in a fender-bender and the other driver ran a red light which caused the accident, their actions would be considered negligent.
To file a personal injury claim in Washington, you must prove that someone’s negligence has caused your injuries. But what type of injuries can you sue for?
Minor Injuries Can Cause Larger Issues
It’s fairly obvious to most that if you’re involved in an accident resulting in minor abrasions or possibly a strained muscle, you’d have difficulty filing a personal injury claim solely based on something so minor. It’s a bit crazy to think you can sue the negligent party for some trivial aches and pains and be awarded a large sum settlement. However, there’s a big difference between a minor injury and its psychological effects.
Pain and Suffering
Although your minor injuries may not be enough to warrant filing a personal injury claim, there are other factors to consider. Any injury or the act that caused it that leads to other issues can be used to file a personal injury claim that seeks compensation for damages.
The minor injuries that were caused by someone’s neglect may not be severe enough to seek compensation. However, they can affect you in other long-lasting ways. For example, the minor abrasions you sustained from an accident may heal rather quickly and won’t physically affect you; however, the accident itself could have devastating psychological effects such as:
- Sleeping difficulties
- Fear of driving
Your lawyer can argue that these post-accident issues could last for months or even years, and will negatively affect your quality of life. Your minor physical injuries can often lead to long-lasting or permanent emotional problems. You have the right to seek damages for them.
How is Compensation for Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Typically, a pre-trial settlement for a personal injury claim won’t include any damages for pain and suffering. Although settlements for personal injury cases usually occur without needing a trial to receive compensation for emotional issues resulting from an accident, the trial phase is unfortunately necessary. The jury will consider all the proof your lawyer provided to prove your long-lasting emotional distress. Possible proof could include a prognosis from doctors, therapists, and psychologists.
Minor Injuries May Not Be So Minor
The psychological effects of an accident could cut deeper than any physical injury. Although bruises and sprains will heal relatively fast without causing a permanent disability, the event that caused them could last for a lifetime.
If you’ve been involved in an accident or event that has caused you emotional distress due to someone else’s neglect, you could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering don’t need to be only physical. The turmoil you’ve experienced can negatively alter your emotional health.
To file a personal injury claim that includes a request for pain and suffering compensation should only be filed by a licensed Washington State personal injury attorney.