personal injury case

When it comes to personal injury cases, fault plays a big role in the final outcome of the case. Fault is the level of legal liability one party has to absorb for a person’s injuries. In most cases, fault does not lie exclusively with one party. What needs to be determined is whether there was negligence involved and if duty of care was compromised.

What Is Negligence?

A person is negligent if it is determined that they did not take reasonable precautions to keep an area or product that they are responsible for safe. The failure to take those precautions must also result in the harm of another person. That negligence makes it possible for the injured person to receive “damages.” Often this is financial compensation.

Breach of Duty and Causation

In a personal injury case, a duty is a legal expectation based on laws and standards. For example, drivers must follow laws such as refraining from alcohol use, keeping their eyes on the road and staying aware of their surroundings. If they fail to do so, it is a breach of duty. Causation is the other half of the equation. A personal injury case can often be filed when the breach of duty is directly related to another person’s injuries.

The injured person can also be at fault, at least partly. The amount of responsibility for an accident is reduced when the injured person was not where they were supposed to be or if they used a product that they had been warned was dangerous. Personal injury attorneys can help their clients determine who was more careless in a particular situation. Even when the injured person is partly to blame, they can often receive damages based on the level of negligence of the other party.

Reducing Fault

When both parties share in the responsibility of a person’s injuries, it is referred to as comparative negligence. Oftentimes, it is assumed that both are responsible, but the defendant might only be 20% responsible while the plaintiff is 80% at fault.

If the defendant had reason to expect a situation to be dangerous, the plaintiff will argue an assumption of risk. They may also use a trespasser defense if the defendant has no reasonable reason to be on their property and was injured as a result. Another defense is often argued when a plaintiff caused an injury while they were working, and is referred to as respondeat superior, which shifts the responsibility onto that person’s employer. Firefighters who cause injury as part of a rescue attempt are generally not held responsible either, even if there is negligence involved.

Intentional Conduct

Injuries aren’t always accidental, at least not entirely. Someone who acts recklessly or aggressively with the intent of hurting someone else can have a personal injury case filed against them. There are, oftentimes, also concurrent criminal charges for assault that can be filed as well. Generally, civil cases such as personal injury lawsuits are easier to prove, so even if a criminal case is inconclusive, it is still worthwhile to seek compensation.

Personal injuries happen for several reasons, and determining who is responsible and to what extent can be complicated. Regardless of how an injury is caused, at Campbell and Associates, we’ll draw on our 15+ years of experience dealing with related cases to take a realistic look at the level of fault involved in each case. If you’ve been injured for these or other reasons, schedule a consultation and we can help determine whether a personal injury case is worth pursuing.

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