If you’ve been injured in an accident and you weren’t at fault, even if your injury was minor if you were left with bills and missed work you’re probably wondering if you can file a lawsuit. The answer to that question is maybe. It depends on whether or not you live in a no-fault or at-fault insurance state.

How Injured Do You Have to Be to Sue?

Another thing to consider if you’ve been injured is the cost of a lawsuit. It may not be worth your time or money to pursue a case if the injury and resulting damages were minor.

Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they don’t collect their fees until you’ve got a settlement or award. You may have trouble finding an attorney who is willing to take on a case if the potential outcome is not going to be worth the cost of their time.

No-Fault States

If you live in a no-fault state, your injury will need to meet the state’s serious injury threshold or limited tort threshold. These laws were created to keep the courts from being backed up with lawsuits over minor injuries. The injury has to meet the definition of “serious” before you’ll be able to file a lawsuit. Depending on where you are located, these criteria may include:

  • Permanent injury
  • Scarring and disfigurement that is significant and permanent
  • The significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
  • Fatal injury

In a no-fault state, you are required to carry personal protection insurance that will cover your damages to the policy’s limit. If your injury does not meet these conditions, you will not be permitted to file a case. Your best option is to make sure you carry adequate coverage.

At-Fault States

According to Laborde Earles Lawyers of Louisiana, an at-fault state, most injuries do not result in significant expenses. However, more serious injuries can result in costly:

  • Hospital stays
  • X-rays
  • Medical appointments
  • Diagnostic tests

In cases where your injuries are serious and you weren’t at fault in the accident, you may want to speak with an attorney to go over your legal options.

Can You Sue Over “Almost” Being Injured?

In most cases, a near miss isn’t enough grounds to file a lawsuit. However, there are certain circumstances under which you may be able to file a suit due to emotional anguish that was caused by almost being injured or witnessing someone else’s injury.

Near Miss Cases

It may be incredibly difficult to pursue a near-miss case, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. If you can prove that you have damaged due to narrowly avoiding an accident that almost happened due to another person’s negligence, in limited cases you may be able to file a lawsuit. Therapy bills or medications may be included in your damages.

Bystander Cases

If you can prove that you saw a close family member suffer a serious injury and that you were so close to the incident that you also could have been hurt, you may be able to pursue a bystander case. In order to file a bystander lawsuit, you must be able to prove that you received medical treatment for your emotional anguish.

If you have questions about whether or not your injury qualifies as serious or whether or not you have a case at all, you may want to reach out to a personal injury attorney. Most personal injury lawyers offer free, confidential, no-obligation initial consultations.

It’s worth taking the time to learn more about your options. The worst-case scenario is you won’t hear the answer you were hoping for.