How To Sue a Business for a Personal Injury

A personal injury can arise from various acts and omissions. Sometimes, the negligent party is a business. For example, you may have slipped and fallen in a grocery store, or a bar owner may have failed to provide adequate security, leading to an assault.

In these types of situations, you can pursue a personal injury case against the business. This will allow you to recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. But how do you initiate the process, and what steps are involved?

When Can a Business Be Liable for a Personal Injury?

Various scenarios can create a legal cause of action against a business or corporation. Most often, negligence is at the heart of a personal injury case. 

In a negligence claim, the injured party must prove that the business:

  • Owed them a legal duty of care, such as the duty to warn of hazardous property conditions (by placing a “wet floor” sign, for example);
  • Breached its duty by failing to act with reasonable care under the circumstances; and
  • Directly caused the injured party’s accident and injuries.

If you can prove these elements, the business will be legally liable for your damages

A business entity may be deemed negligent in the following scenarios: 

  • It failed to inspect the premises or fix known hazards
  • It failed to implement reasonable safety features, such as hiring security guards
  • One of its employees caused an injury while on the job (vicarious liability)
  • One of its products injured a consumer due to a defect (product liability)

Any act or omission that harms another person can lead to a valid personal injury claim.

What Are the Steps Involved in Suing a Business for an Injury?

Regardless of the at-fault party’s identity, all personal injury cases are unique. That means yours may involve different steps than others. However, we’ve outlined the basic process below.

Seek Prompt Medical Attention

This is an essential step. You must see a healthcare provider immediately after your accident. For one, you want to ensure that your injuries are promptly addressed and treated. On the legal side, though, your medical record will create a link between the business’s actions (or inactions) and your harm.

For example, if you slip and fall at a theater due to spilled soda, you should see a doctor right away. Explain what happened and where you feel pain. If you fractured your tailbone, your medical chart will indicate that you fell at the theater earlier that day and suffered a fracture as a result.

Schedule a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer

When going up against a business, it’s wise to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Many companies have vast resources and aggressive defense attorneys to fight legal claims. You’ll want to level the playing field by having an advocate on your side. 

Most injury lawyers offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency fee basis. That means you won’t owe them anything out-of-pocket to start representing you.

Identify and Calculate Damages

Before starting the negotiation process, it’s crucial to understand the extent of your damages. 

Will you need ongoing medical treatment or physical therapy for your injuries? Are you expected to make a full recovery? Has your work life been impacted in any way now or in the future? Have you experienced pain and suffering or a reduced quality of life

Many personal injury victims don’t realize they can recover these types of damages. Working with an experienced attorney will ensure that you include all losses in your claim.

Send a Demand and Negotiate With the Business or Insurer

Once your attorney has a good understanding of your damages, they will likely send the business or its insurance company a demand letter. This outlines your injuries, legal arguments for liability, and the compensation you’re requesting. 

The business or insurance provider will respond, either accepting the terms, denying responsibility, or counteroffering for a lower amount. If negotiations fail to yield an agreeable settlement, your attorney might advise that filing a formal lawsuit is the best course of action. 

This is especially true if the statute of limitations is approaching. You must file your lawsuit within the applicable time frame, or you’ll lose your legal right to compensation.

Start Formal Legal Proceedings

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is how you get the court involved. Your attorney will file a complaint and summons and have the documents served on the business. 

At this point, the parties will likely engage in discovery, which includes depositions, document requests, interrogatories, and requests for admissions. The process allows each party to evaluate the other side’s evidence and the strength of their arguments. 

The parties can still negotiate a settlement agreement during the pre-trial discovery process.  

Go to Trial 

The case will proceed to trial if the parties cannot settle amongst themselves. A judge and/or jury will listen to each side’s arguments and witness testimonies and evaluate the evidence presented. They will render a verdict. 

Note that most personal injury cases do not make it to trial. A majority are settled out of court.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer If You’re Considering Suing a Business

Suing a business involves considerable time, patience, legal knowledge, and communication skills. It’s best to enlist the help of a dedicated personal injury attorney to ensure you receive a fair outcome.