When someone acts wrongfully, it can leave someone with physical, emotional, and financial harm. When that happens, an injured party can take a personal injury lawsuit against the wrongdoer. A personal injury lawsuit is a type of tort case, which is a type of civil lawsuit.
Personal Injury cases often turn on the doctrine of negligence. To have a successful lawsuit against a defendant, the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to act reasonably and, consequently, the plaintiff was harmed. It often comes down to how much the plaintiff's injuries are worth and how much the defendant's actions contributed to them.
Negligence occurs when one party ignores its legal responsibility to do or not do something, resulting in harm to someone else. In legal terms, this is known as "wrongful conduct." For instance, you could be stopped for a traffic violation and provide information about your license and registration. The police could then fail to perform a breathalyzer test (or properly administer it), resulting in a DUI charge when, in fact, you were not intoxicated.
Negligence in determining personal injury cases can be quickly established. Once failure is there, the defendant responsible must then pay the plaintiff for all physical injuries caused by the defendant's actions.
Certain damages, such as property damage and medical bills, are easy to calculate. However, damages such as emotional distress and loss of earning capacity may require expert testimony to be calculated. In addition to compensation for injuries, punitive damages may be available to punish and deter particularly egregious conduct.
If you are involved in an auto accident, one of the first steps you should take is to retain an experienced car accident lawyer. Identifying the proper defendants for a tort action can be difficult on your own because you will need to know more than the basic details of who crashed into you.
The tortfeasor who directly harmed you - a delivery driver, nurse, grocery store clerk, or other individuals - may not have the financial resources to pay a considerable judgment. An experienced injury attorney can identify and sue different liable parties based on their relationship to the tortfeasor, such as the landlord who leased him the truck he was driving or the employer who supplied it.
One of the torts that an injury case can almost always use is negligence. Every plaintiff's attorney should be well-versed in failure, and memorization is the only way to master it.
Personal Injury Law encompasses a variety of legal claims. Some of these, such as negligence and product liability, are relatively straightforward. Others, such as intentional tort lawsuits, can get complicated.
For instance, you can be sued for an intentional tort if the defendant intentionally assaulted you. The action that harmed you was deliberate and is not about negligence. For instance, if you worked as an assistant manager at McDonald's and told a female employee that she would be fired unless she had sex with you, you could sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
At the opposite end of the tort spectrum, there are scenarios in which defendants will be liable even though they did everything possible to avoid causing harm. These cases are known as strict liability. The law will hold the defendant strictly accountable if someone is hurt while the defendant is engaging in a hazardous activity, even if the action is legal and precautionary measures are taken.
Some examples of an activity that fits this far end of the spectrum are:
- Building demolition
- Hazardous materials
The types of harm that the law requires to show:
- It is hazardous to the public at large.
These are activities without which modern society could not exist.
Another common tort involves injuries caused by defective products. Liability in these cases can be imposed based on a theory that the manufacturer acted negligently by designing and selling an unsafe product.
To avoid liability, defendants often rely on a few common defense theories.
In negligence cases, the defense can use a contributory negligence argument, claiming that the plaintiff did not use the care the old they should have. For example, the plaintiff might have consumed too much alcohol before getting into a car or not have worn a helmet when roller-blading.
The defendant may also argue that the plaintiff is at fault because they assumed the risk by voluntarily engaging in the activity. For example, chalking a hopscotch board for a three-year-old might involve some inherent risks, but the child also understands the risks involved.
The defense of implied consent rests upon the notion that the plaintiff indicated permitted the defendant to take the legal action that injured the plaintiff. In broad strokes, the defendant argues that the plaintiff didn't speak out against the actions or that they implicitly signaled their consent at the time.