Do I have a case?

With all the resources available on the internet, it is tempting to try to determine your legal situation on your own.  However, the law is almost entirely shades of gray, so nothing beats a conversation with a lawyer in the applicable field.  Most plaintiff's lawyers will speak with you for free about your case.  Take the time to pick up the phone and explain your situation to somebody who can help.  At the very least, you should come away with a better idea of where you stand.

The following are some basic principles in determining whether you "have a case" and should seek legal help:

Auto Collisions: If the other person violated the rules of the road, you likely have a right of action against him or her for your injuries.  Keep in mind, however, that you could still be partially at fault under certain circumstances.

Defective Products: If you have been injured by a product that did not operate as the manufacturer intended, the manufacturer is automatically liable.  When something did not operate as intended, it could be because it broke, malfunctioned, did not meet specifications, or otherwise diverged from the quality of the product line as a whole.  Keep in mind that you have to prove that the product defect caused your injury, as opposed to use or damage by someone else, plaintiff negligence, or some other cause.

Defective Design: If you have been injured by a product that functioned as it was intended, but the product was not reasonably safe as designed, the manufacturer may be liable.  Industry experts are necessary to determine whether a product was reasonably safe as designed.

Consumer Protection: This typically refers to unfair and deceptive practices by corporate sellers of goods and services.  It could relate to false advertising or other scams that exploit consumers.  Often times, each individual claim is too small to be a financially viable legal claim.  Do not lose heart, however.  You should still contact a lawyer because your plight could be shared by thousands more.  A class action could both compensate you and hold the deceptive company accountable.

Civil Rights: This typically refers to some unfair or discriminatory practice by a government entity or an agent of the government.  It could include excessive force by law enforcement, discrimination, or unconstitutional actions by lawmakers or other government entities.  Civil rights are enforceable under the federal and state constitutions, federal and state statute, and state common law.  There are too many issues to list here, so you should consult a lawyer.

Medical Malpractice: If you have been injured by the acts or omissions of a health care provider, you may be the victim of medical negligence.  A doctor is said to be negligent when he failed to do what a "reasonably prudent physician would do in the same or similar circumstances."  Thus, a bad result does not automatically equate to negligence if the doctor acted reasonably.  Only a health care provider practicing in the applicable field can determine whether your doctor was negligent.  Once you consult with a lawyer, your lawyer should ask a physician to review your medical records to determine whether you have a case.

Premises Liability: If you have been injured on the property of a business or government entity, the property owner or user may, under certain circumstances, be liable.  Liability depends on how long the owner knew or should have known about the premises defect, and whether the owner's actions to remedy the defect, if any, were reasonable.  In very rare circumstances, private property owners can also be liable.  Consult with a lawyer to discuss the specific facts of your case.

General Negligence: There are infinite possibilities for injury resulting from negligence.  If your situation does not fall into one of the above categories, do not fret.  A person or entity can be found negligent any time he/it creates a risk to you and fails to use reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm.  There are a multitude of other considerations and limitations, but that is the legal foundation for all liability.