Under the broadest of definitions, all of these inconveniences and annoyances could be called an injury, but at the same time none of them are anywhere near enough to justify litigation. So where exactly is the line between the daily inconvenience and a need for compensation? When is enough enough?
A Different State Of Legality
Part of the trouble with answering that question is that there is no hard, universal answer in the United States. Civil law is, for the most part, legislated and adjudicated at the state level, and so the details can all be different depending on where you live. For instance, the statute of limitations, or the amount of time you have to file a suit before you no longer have the right, can vary by whole years depending on if the offense took place in Florida or in Georgia. You also have to consider case precedents which may only apply to certain counties and aren’t written into the state laws.
One kind of law which can differ significantly between states is what’s called a dog bite law, which is about a pet owner’s responsibility to keep his or her pets from harming people. Florida has a strict liability law, which means that (outside of a few specific exceptions) a pet owner is responsible for his or her pet’s actions even if that pet hadn’t shown any hint of aggressive behavior before. Other states offer more leniency based on a pet’s personality before the aggressive action.
While it may be true that there aren’t many guarantees in American civil law, it’s all ultimately based on the old English common law system, which means there are a few guidelines you can always use to judge whether or not you ought to hire a lawyer.
- • Did the injury cost you a significant sum of money? This could mean lost time at work, medical bills, psychologist bills, or else money spent replacing or repairing your property.
- • Are you certain the injury wasn’t your fault? American civil law is all about finding fault, and the more a person is at fault, the more he or she has to bear the burden of liability. So if everything happened because you ignored the warnings or you forgot about something the jury would expect an average adult to know, you shouldn’t expect a positive result.
- • Are you unable to settle the matter without legal threats or a lawsuit? The vast majority of civil cases are settled out of court, and that’s especially true when you account for all the civil cases that never get filed in the first place. Just because someone’s caused you some pain or embarrassment doesn’t mean that you have to sue them. Restaurants which serve you a bad meal will very often offer you a new one for free, for instance, which is a compensation in proportion to the injury. You should only consider getting a lawyer if you don’t think what they offer is enough to pay for your damages, and if the lawyer you consult thinks you should settle or simply negotiate for a better settlement, you should seriously consider his or her advice.
However, if you answered “yes” to all three questions, then you should definitely consult with a law firm to see if the professionals agree. Most reputable law firms offer a free initial case review, so there’s no harm in asking.
If you happen to live or work in southwest Florida, particularly in the area of Fort Meyers or Port Charlotte, then you should consult with the All Injuries Law Firm. We’re ready and willing to give you an honest opinion about what you should do next, and if that means litigation, we’re prepared to go as far as it takes to get you the compensation you deserve.