New York City Personal Injury Law Blog

An Accident Case cannot be Filed Based on Speculation

Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Legal Terminology

Many accident lawyers frequently receive clients who want to file a lawsuit because they feel they could have died in the accident. However, the fact is that they did not die, and when this fact is pointed out to them, they become indignant. They usually argue, “But I could have died” or “I almost died”. Actually, the “but” does not count, and “almost” does not count, since they are both speculative. This means that even if you could have died or almost died in the accident, it will not play any part in whether or not you have a valid accident case.

Speculation cannot be Part of any Type of Personal Injury Case

Accident Case

Speculation cannot be the basis of an accident case.

In instance of medical malpractice, the patient might feel that the doctor has caused harm because he failed to deliver basic standard of medical care. If the wrongdoing was not recognized in time, and if steps were not taken to correct the issue, it is possible the patient would have died. However, a case cannot be built on speculation, and the lawyer cannot tell the jury that patient could have died. The jury will turn around and observe that the patient is still alive. The jury will be mainly concerned with, what type of injury was sustained, and what amount of compensation is the patient seeking. An injury case cannot be entertained based on the patient “almost dying”.

Liability, Causation, and Damages

An injury case can only be based on negligence or carelessness. The jury will see whether the carelessness has caused any injuries. Then the jury will decide what types of injuries you have suffered, and whether these injuries were of significant or serious nature. The jury can only calculate the damages based on the nature and seriousness of the injuries. Therefore, only when the jury decides that the plaintiff was more likely right than wrong, and that there were serious injuries due to the negligence or carelessness of the defendant, then only damages can be awarded.

Typically, you will find that most experienced accident and medical malpractice lawyers will not take up cases where the person has suffered minimal or non-serious injuries. Additionally, no accident attorney is going to take speculative cases because speculation cannot be part of any case. There should be clear liability, causation, and damages. Legally, a jury is not allowed to provide compensation for speculative injuries. Therefore, when injuries are speculative, the case cannot go forward, and no jury can rule on damages for speculative injuries.

The jury can only provide compensation for the harm and injuries you have suffered in an accident due to the negligence or carelessness of the other party. Therefore, even if you feel that you almost died due to the carelessness of the other driver or due to the negligence of the doctor, you do not have a case. Only when you have suffered actual injuries that are of a serious nature, you can file an accident lawsuit.


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