Being injured in an accident or as a result of negligence is often grounds to consider whether you have a personal injury claim. However, successfully pursuing a claim in court requires meeting three key criteria.
The three core aspects of a personal injury claim
- Negligence – The party responsible for your injury somehow deviated from a reasonable course of action due to inattentiveness or carelessness. For example, if you were struck by a delivery truck, your claim must prove that the driver of that truck was somehow careless in his behavior – for example, the driver being distracted by talking on a cell phone.
- Liability – Liability implies that there is someone to blame in your injury, that it was not simply a function of circumstance or “an act of God.” If you suffered a broken arm and a concussion after being struck by the truck in the example above, the negligent party’s behavior would have been directly liable for that personal injury.
- Damages – The injury suffered must have incurred some sort of cost for you, whether that be medical fees, lost wages due to missed work, pain and/or suffering, etc. These injuries can be financially calculated, facilitating the application of a personal injury lawsuit and potentially determining its settlement.
If your personal injury did not meet these three criteria, then that may be a likely reason for your claim’s rejection. However, additional factors may influence the acceptance of a personal injury claim.
The Statute of Limitations
Most states set up a time limit on how long a personal injury claim may be filed following the injury itself, and this limit can vary tremendously depending on jurisdiction. For example, in California, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases lasts two years after the injury was incurred. This means that if you have suffered a personal injury, your claim must be filed within that jurisdiction’s limits for such cases. All claims submitted after that limitation are likely to be rejected outright.
Depending on your claim, these limitations may also vary – the limitation on medical malpractice may differ from that of a personal injury, according to state jurisprudence. Exceeding the statute of limitations is one of the most common reasons for rejecting a personal injury claim.
While, typically, the statute of limitations is considered to begin from the moment the injury is incurred, if the injury is not immediately apparent, or the consequences of such are revealed later, such as during a medical check-up, this is known as the “discovery rule” exception. The “discovery rule” exception begins the statute of limitations clock from the moment the injury was discovered, or could reasonably have been assumed to have been discovered, instead of the moment of the injury itself.
Another common exception is the “tolled” exception. In this case, if the injured claimant suffered an injury and then left the state – for example, a trucker that experienced food poisoning while traveling through a non-resident state later suffered long-term effects, the statute of limitations may be paused while the trucker is outside that state.
Other factors may also impact the statute of limitations. Please consult a licensed legal professional for more information.
While Justpoint may have rejected your claim based on the above criteria, that does not mean that your road to justice is necessarily over. In all cases, we recommend claimants contact their local state bar association for additional information on their particular claim.
Justpoint cannot certify all claims submitted to us, but we do our best to ensure that every claim is heard, examined by trained experts, and considered for submission to the country’s best law firms.