Did you fall in an unlit parking lot outside of your gym and break a hip? Did you get sideswiped by a teenage driver whose eyes were on a cellphone and not the road? Were your injuries related to some other situation that seems like it should have been avoidable?
Your ability to recover compensation for an injury and other financial losses relies on whether or not you can prove that another party is financially responsible through some form of negligence. Here's what that means in legal terms:
1. The other party owed you a certain legal duty of care.
Basically, everyone is legally expected to behave in a reasonably safe manner toward other people. Your exact legal duty of care varies from circumstance to circumstance.
For example, anyone who drives a car has a responsibility to keep his or her attention on the road and operate the car in a safe manner. Store owners have a duty to keep their premises (including the parking lot) clean and safe to walk through so that patrons don't fall and get hurt.
2. The other party somehow breached that legal duty toward you.
In order to determine if a duty of care has been breached, the court has to decide what an ordinary, reasonable person would have done in the same situation. If the defendant did something (or failed to do something) and an ordinary, reasonable person would have known that behavior could cause an injury, that's a breach in the duty of care.
For example, most drivers would recognize that answering a text message on their cellphone while they're driving is dangerous behavior. Similarly, a store owner should recognize that letting the lights all burn out on the parking lot could pose a hazard to his customers in the evening.
3. The defendant's actions had to somehow cause your injuries.
Basically, the court has to decide if there's really a connection between the defendant's negligent act and your injury.
For example, this is often hotly debated in slip and fall cases. You may allege that a store owner overwaxed their floor, making it too slick to walk on without falling. The defendant may allege that you were walking in heels that were too high for you to manage and caused your own accident.
4. You have to show the court that you suffered some kind of actual damages.
This is usually the simplest part of the case. If you don't actually suffer any physical injuries or financial losses, you don't really have a claim for compensation — even if the other party was negligent and caused an accident.
For example, if you fell on a wet floor inside a store but a friend caught you before you hit the ground and you escaped unscathed, there were no damages.
To learn if you have a viable case for compensation after an accident, talk to an injury lawyer today.Share
10 May 2019
After I was in a car accident, I wasn't sure what I was going to do in the future. I had some really significant back and neck pain, so I started talking with a lawyer about how to recover some of my losses. I began working with an attorney to take care of things, but I was nervous about how the process would unfold. I began working with the attorney to evaluate every component of the incident, and help me to decode the problems I was faced with. We worked on learning more about the lawsuit, and it helped me to make sense of the situation. Learn more about accidents on this blog.