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But before you can file suit, you need to make sure that you have these two basic grounds for a personal injury lawsuit:

1. Clearly Defined Harm

When it comes to a personal injury lawsuit, the first thing that you must evaluate is whether a clearly defined harm has occurred. With only a few narrow exceptions, personal injury lawsuits require the harm element. In most cases, that harm must be provable. Emotional distress is one of the hardest forms of harm to prove. Remember that the more clearly you can prove the harm, the stronger the likelihood that you can make your claim.

2. A Definable Duty

No matter how you may have been harmed in your personal injury lawsuit, the individual whom you are suing must have owed a duty to you. The "duty to you" basically means that that person should have done something or avoided doing something because of your relationship. This does not always have to be an agreed upon duty. All drivers, for instance, owe other drivers and pedestrians the duty of reasonable care while driving. A negligent driver will be liable to anyone he hits, even if he has never met that person before. In addition to that definable duty though, the person you are suing must also have breached it in some fashion. To go back to the example of the driver, a driver who is being cautious on the road but who wipes out because of a storm and through no fault of his own will generally not be held liable. He did have a duty, and he did harm the other person, but he did not breach his duty.


This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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