I get this question frequently without the surrounding circumstances that lead to the injuries:
My injuries are only soft-tissue injuries do I still have a case?
Injuries to soft tissues are often more permanent and require a longer healing process than injuries to bone. Unlike a bone fracture soft tissue injuries are difficult if not impossible for the untrained eye to see. Because of this your case is often dependent on medical expert opinions. It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as you are aware that you are injured and then follow up on that treatment without allowing any gaps in treatment.
The injuries are not our only concern however. Somebody or some company other than the injured party must be at least partially responsible for causing those injuries to have a case. When someone else causes your injuries through their carelessness you have a "negligence" claim. Negligence requires several elements one of which is damages or injuries. Soft tissue injuries certainly count as damages however there are 3 additional "elements" to a negligence suit and several defenses the insurance companies will use to try to escape paying out any settlement or verdict.
When you hire an attorney to pursue an injury claim based on negligence he/she must prove all of the following elements through evidence such as witness testimony, expert testimony, photographs, and documents.
Elements of a Negligence Claim:
1. Duty - we have to prove that the other driver, the store owner, dog owner etc. owed a duty to the injured person to protect them from the specific harm that the injured person suffered.
2. Breach - Did the person/company breach the duty described above by failing to protect the injured person from the harm? Think of evidence we can present to prove this element. For example: Testimony that the other driver ran the red light, photograph of stain on ceiling of business showing that this spot leaked water and the company knew about it, or photos of a fence in disrepair that allowed a dog to escape.
3. Causation - Proof that the breach above caused your damages. Evidence here often comes in the form of medical expert opinion and eye witness testimony.
Call to discuss your situation free of charge This blog just touches the surface of a minefield of rules and legal hurdles you face when making a claim.
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Attorney Erik Rosskopf
An active member of the Florida and Georgia bar associations, he practices in Jacksonville Florida handling cases throughout North Florida and Georgia.