One of the initial steps in personal injury cases is determining the liable party – who’s responsible for the injury or accident.
Determining Fault in a Personal Injury Case by Alllaw has all the necessary detail about establishing fault in personal injury cases. Here it is:
“Using Negligence to Prove Fault
The large majority of injury claims arise because one or more parties acted negligently. Negligence is essentially conduct that 1) falls below the standard of care expected of a reasonable person, and 2) causes harm to another person. The legal elements of negligence that must be proven in order to hold a party liable for personal injury damages are:
- A legal duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff must exist in every successful injury claim. For example, all automobile drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists on the road.
- The plaintiff must prove the defendant breached a legal duty. Using the above example, a breach would occur if, while driving, a motorist carelessly looked down at their cell phone to compose a text message.
- The defendant must be the cause of the plaintiff’s harm or injuries. This element is usually pretty obvious in most injury cases. For example, if the defendant’s car rear-ends the plaintiff’s car, causation can’t really be in question.
- The plaintiff must incur actual damages –usually monetary –stemming from the incident. This means things like incurred medical bills, lost income from time missed at work, property damage, etc.
Now that you’re aware of the basics let us proceed to a more complex component of proving fault in personal injury cases. Fault vs. No Fault in a Personal Injury Case by Enjuris has the information:
Some additional parties that may bear responsibility include:
- An employer – The employer may be responsible for the conduct of his or her employees
- A parent – A parent may be held liable for the tortious conduct of his or her child
- A property owner – A property owner often has a responsibility to individuals invited onto his or her property or lawfully present on the property.”
Determining Fault in Personal Injury Cases
Fault is a key threshold matter in a personal injury case. Here is how to prove one’s case.
In any insurance settlement or personal injury case, one of the most crucial questions is that which party is liable? In a personal injury case, determining fault is the main threshold issue as once it is established, the liable party is legally responsible for paying damages (compensation) to the harmed party, whether through a court order or negotiated settlement.
Who Determines the Liability?
In an injury case, just who decides the liable frequently varies according to the state of the case but harmed parties represented by a lawyer should expect their lawyer to assess the case, find out all potentially liable parties and make an ultimate liability determination. Potentially liable parties in an injury case frequently carry liability insurance, thus leaving the burden of satisfying a compensation to the insurance company. Often, insurance companies conduct their investigation and decide independently. If the involved parties can’t agree on the liability, then they may be compelled to file injury cases and provide a civil court jury with the final say on who’s liable
In Proving Fault in Personal Injury Accidents: General Rules, the article features some vital details about liability in personal injury cases. Here’s an excerpt:
“When More Than One Person Is at Fault
When there is more than one person responsible for an accident — for example, if several careless drivers cause a wreck — the law in most states provides that any one of the careless parties is responsible for compensating you fully for your injuries. The responsible parties must then decide between themselves whether one should reimburse the others.
This rule about collecting from any responsible person provides you with a couple of important advantages. If one liable person is insured and the other is not, you can make your claim against the insured person for the full amount. And even if both are insured, you will have to settle your claim with only one insurance company. Initially, consider everyone you think might be responsible and notify each of them that you may file a claim for damages. Then, depending on what you discover about how the accident happened, or on which insurance company takes responsibility, you will pursue a claim against only one.”
Using Negligence to Establish Fault
Most injury claims occur because one or two parties acted carelessness. Negligence is basically conduct that falls under the care standard expected of a rational person and results in harm to another individual. In a personal injury, negligence’s legal elements should be proven to hold a party responsible for damages is:
- The defendant has a legal duty to the plaintiff; it should exist in each successful injury case. For instance, all car drivers have such duty to other drivers on the road.
- The plaintiff should prove that the defendant violated a legal duty. With the above case, a breach would take place if, while driving, a driver negligently looked down at their phone to text.
- In most injury claims, the defendant should be the cause of the harm or injuries of the plaintiff. Often, this element is rather apparent. For instance, if the defendant’s vehicle rear-ends the car of the plaintiff, causation cannot truly be in question.
- The plaintiff should incur actual damages –often financial –resulting from the incident. Meaning, things such incurred medical bills, property damage, lost wages off work, and all that.
The legal elements of strict liability or negligence are quite straightforward, but establishing each one can be harder. Simply put, “fault” is established in each personal injury claim using the evidence and facts of a certain case.
Lawyers and other parties attempting to establish liability must finish a comprehensive investigation of the circumstances and details of a personal injury case to make a knowledgeable and legally through liability decision.
This investigation normally involves gathering evidence, questioning involved parties, and even employing and referring to experts or professionals. Common evidence utilized to establish fault in injury cases includes police reports, accounts made by the involved parties, and documents or records kept.
Learn more about establishing fault in personal injury cases by clicking on the article above.