Navigating Negligence: How Courts Determine Fault in Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you’ve been hurt as a result of someone else’s negligence, their guilt is obvious to you. But when it comes to legal liability and seeking compensation for the damages you’ve incurred, your opinion doesn’t count for much: It’s the judge and jury that you need to convince.  Though each case is different, proving your case means showing that the other person or entity acted recklessly or with disregard for your well-being.

A negligence case can involve a wide range of injuries and circumstances. From automobile accidents to slip and falls, from product liability cases to dog bites. What all of these lawsuits have in common is that the injured party, or plaintiff, has to provide evidence that shows that the other party was at fault. This can be shown in several ways, including:

  • Failing in a duty of care – Duty of care means different things in different circumstances. In an automobile accident, the driver’s duty of care refers to being attentive, keeping the vehicle in good working order, and driving safely. In a medical malpractice case, it means the doctor providing the same level of care that another physician would in the same circumstances. In a product liability case, it generally means not taking care to ensure that users will not be injured or sickened as a result of using the product. Proving that a defendant breached their duty of care means demonstrating their actions or inactions: in a slip and fall accident, they may not have kept their floors clear of debris. In a product liability case, a drug manufacturer may have failed to report adverse effects from their medication.
  • Causation – Showing that the defendant failed in their duty of care is just the beginning of winning a negligence case. You also need to tie their failure to the injuries that you’ve suffered.

In presenting a personal injury case to a judge and jury, an experienced negligence attorney will raise issues of whether it was foreseeable that someone could be harmed as a result of the defendant’s actions or inactions. In response, the defendant’s attorney is likely to try to point the finger of blame at the injured person, accusing them of failing to pay attention to warning signs or in some other way contributing to their own injury. This is where an attorney’s experience and compelling evidence come into play. Not only will documentation including medical records, photos, and witness statements play a role, but so too will how well your attorney tells your story to the jury,

If you’ve been injured and you’d like an experienced personal injury attorney to explain your rights and assess the strength of your case, contact us today to set up a free consultation.