Legal Grounds for Filing a Personal Injury Suit...

by James
(Starkville, MS, USA)

I was called to work on a vehicle by the owner on the side of the road. In order to get the vehicle started I had to go under the hood to crank it and when I got it started the car automatically came out of gear.

The vehicle smashed me in between it and another car which caused serious injuries, breaking my legs. The owner of the car has insurance and I am wondering what legal grounds do I have to pursue this matter?

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Legal Grounds for Filing a Personal Injury Suit...":

The legal grounds you have would be under a negligence theory. In those cases, you need to prove that a person:

1. owed you a duty;
2. breached the duty;
3. caused actual and proximate damages; and
4. damages.

Stepping through each prong shows that you do have a claim. The owner of the car owed you a duty such that if you repaired their vehicle, you would not be injured in the process.

That duty is considered "breached" because you were in fact injured. The vehicle falling on you was both the actual and proximate cause of your injuries (as opposed to an injury that occurred in a long chain of incidences) and you were actually damaged (broken legs, etc.)

Because you have a viable negligence cause of action, the first step would be to pursue a claim against the insurance company. However, you may also have a workers compensation claim with your employer if you were actually working at the time that you were called to repair this vehicle.

What is not known to many people is that you can actually pursue a claim for both causes of action (personal injury and workers compensation). In order to proceed with workers comp, you will need to contact your employer and submit a claim (if applicable).

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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