Personal Injury 101: Elements of a Good Case

Personal Injury 101: Elements of a Good Case

It’s natural to want compensation if you feel you’ve been injured due to the bad actions of another, whether intentional or negligent. Regardless of severity, injuries are traumatic experiences, and it’s only fair that you should be repaid for things like medical expenses and damages to property. You may even need an injury settlement just to make a full recovery if your injuries require an operation that you can’t afford. There’s no reason your life should be ruined by an injury that wasn’t your fault.

Of course, even minor injuries can lead to time spent out of work, and you deserve compensation for those lost wages. There’s also the element of “pain and suffering” involved in every case that’s hard to calculate. Each state has different caps and laws regarding damages sought for pain and suffering. For example, in California, pain and suffering are divided into categories like emotional distress, mental suffering, loss of society, and humiliation. Since every case is different, there’s no accurate way to determine an average payout for an injury case, but with the right Bakersfield personal injury attorneys, you can ensure your best odds for a positive outcome. Here are some of the most important things you need to do to build your case.

Medical Attention

For your own safety, you should always seek medical attention when you’re injured, but it’s even more important when you think you may have a legal case. Immediate medical treatment not only gives you your best chance at a smooth recovery—it also gives you a chance to prove that all your injuries were sustained due to the defendant’s actions. If you wait on medical treatment, you give the opposing side an opportunity to discredit your claim by saying the injuries came from another source or that you made them worse.

Getting medical attention early and keeping up with recommended treatment also ensures that you have good medical records. You’ll have to keep up with any follow-up appointments or specialist recommendations since your medical records will be heavily scrutinized by the other side, and inconsistencies or gaps in these records can be devastating for your case.

Preserved Evidence

You’ll need as much evidence as you can get to prove the severity of your injuries, how they were sustained, and to prove that you’re owed the highest damages possible. Start with visual evidence of your injuries. You should have photographs starting as early as possible and documenting your recovery process. Ideally, you’ll have video or photographic evidence starting at the injury scene itself.

Since you were injured, it’s understandable if you weren’t able to collect evidence yourself, but there could be video evidence on nearby security cameras, or a witness may have recorded evidence. Any witness reports or police reports from the scene will be useful in your case. Even returning to an accident scene after the event and photographing the area may be able to add context to the event.

Anything you can bring your attorney may be able to help your case. If you have the defendant’s name, you could even search their public records to see if they have similar previous offenses. If they’ve shown a pattern of bad behavior, you may be able to weaken their defense.


It may be tempting to accept the first offer you get, especially if you need the money, but you shouldn’t be too eager with an injury case. The first settlement offer is likely to be a low one, and your attorney may be able to prove that you deserve more compensation. Keep your doctor and lawyer updated on your condition, and refrain from speaking to anyone else about the case until it’s concluded. Building the best case can take some time, especially if you’re factoring in future damages for ongoing recovery.

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