A Basic Understanding of Personal Injury Cases
Not every injury equals a personal injury case. Certain factors or “grounds” must exist before you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
In a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer must also prove the existence of certain factors to win a case.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal term that courts and attorneys frequently use in personal injury cases. In general, negligence refers to a person’s action or inaction that causes injury to someone else. An example of negligence would be the failure to put a barricade around an open manhole during construction work. Consequently, a pedestrian, who does not see the hole, falls into it and suffers injury.
What Elements Must an Attorney Prove in a Personal Injury Case?
The four main elements a lawyer must prove include:
- Duty. The person who caused the injury had a legal duty to the person who suffered injury. For example, drivers on roadways have a legal duty to other drivers. They must obey traffic laws and drive safely.
- Breach of duty. The individual who caused injury breached the legal duty by doing something harmful or by not preventing harm when they should have. An example would be a driver who was speeding and caused an accident in which another driver was injured. Another example would be a driver who failed to yield the right of way and consequently crashed into another car.
- Causation. Causation refers to the fact that the responsible party’s action or inaction resulted in the injury. The attorney must prove there was a relationship between the action/inaction and the resulting injury. For example, if a drunken individual left a bar, and while driving home caused an accident, the establishment serving liquor could be held liable for the accident injury. However, if the drunk driver arrived home, drank more alcohol and a few hours later drove and caused an accident, it may be difficult to prove the establishment had any liability.
- No case exists unless there are damages. The party bringing the lawsuit must have suffered injury as a result of the liable party’s actions.
If you have suffered a serious injury and believe someone else was at fault, you should contact a personal injury lawyer. Find out what your rights are to recover compensation for damages.