What are the elements you need to have a successful personal injury claim when you've been injured by somebody? Think of it like a stool, a three-legged stool. You need these three parts or it won't stand up. If you're missing one of these, your case tends to fall over like a stool without one of its legs.

The first part is to have the injury. And for it to be a claim that's recoverable, it needs to be a clear-cut injury. It sounds strange, but the more serious the injury is, and the more it is the kind of injury that you can document medically, it's a lot easier from the standpoint of making your case, proving your claim, and recovering your damages.

Sometimes soft-tissue injuries are harder to show and prove to a jury or even in settlement negotiations than some things like broken bones and cuts and bruises and things that you can actually document and see. 

The second leg of a successful personal injury claim is clear liability by the other side. What does that mean? It needs to be clear that the negligence of the other driver in a car accident is what caused the accident. This is easier to prove when they were driving drunk, they were given a ticket for running a red light or they were speeding (and you can prove it). All of these things add to your ability to show that this other person made a bad decision that led to your injuries.

The third thing is you have to have a source of recovery. What does that mean? Usually it means insurance. There has to be insurance on the other side to help you recover and actually pay for the injuries you've suffered. Sometimes, your own uninsured or under-insured ("UM") insurance coverage will provide that payment source. It is essential to have UM coverage in case you are the victim of a hit-and-run or the other driver has minimal insurance that doesn't cover all your injury expenses.

The three "legs" of the successful injury case are: serious and clear-cut injury, clear liability by the other side for being at fault, and a source of recovery for damages.

David Todd
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Austin Texas Eminent Domain Condemnation Attorney