When someone has suffered injuries because of another person’s negligence, you may have the right to claim compensation from the person or people responsible. However, there are four elements the plaintiff will have to prove to hold that person legally liable for the injury, and these elements can vary from state to state. When considering pursuing a personal injury claim, here are the key features you need to consider when filing a personal injury claim.
- Breach of Duty of Care
When you are an employee or otherwise under someone else’s care and authority, it is their duty of care to ensure your wellbeing. If they fail to provide such care, you have grounds for a personal injury claim. Furthermore, you must prove that their actions were careless and that if they had acted reasonably and with due consideration for your safety, your injuries would not have occurred.
It may also be necessary for you to prove how these actions directly led to injuries. For example, if you slipped on a slippery floor because of water left by a cleaning crew, it will be necessary to show that no towels were available for drying. Finally, you must indicate what type of harm their negligence caused.
You can do so by documenting your medical bills and ongoing treatment costs, and any lost wages from time off work. You can contact Warnett Hallen LLP, an experienced personal injury lawyer, to help you pursue a personal injury claim and get the maximum compensation possible.
The first step in making sure you can hold someone liable for your injury is proving that they were responsible for it. In most cases, liability means causation—you need to show that something about their actions led directly and unavoidably to your injuries. It’s referred to as but-for causation – if a defendant hadn’t acted, you wouldn’t have suffered injuries.
However, it doesn’t mean there needs to be an identifiable person who caused your injuries (it could be a defective product or another accident), just that something about what happened was attributable to another party. For example, if you slipped on ice and broke your arm while walking downstairs at work, you might argue that had there been no ice on those stairs, you would not have slipped and hurt your arm.
The presence of ice is causally related to your injury because you would not have hurt without it. A reliable slip and fall lawyer will help you determine whether or not you can prove causation and help you pursue legal action.
- Proximate Cause
The plaintiff needs to show that defendant’s negligence was proximate to the cause of their injuries. Proximate cause means that there must be an unbroken chain of events leading from one person’s carelessness to another person’s harm, but there would have been no harm without that carelessness. In other words, if you had not fallen down those stairs while carrying your groceries home because of a slippery step, you would not have broken your leg.
Further, if you did not break your leg because of that slippery step, you would not have needed surgery and physical therapy. If you did not need surgery and physical therapy, you would not have missed work. And so on. Each link in that chain is called a proximate cause. A good lawyer can help you establish which links are necessary to hold someone liable for your injury.
It’s crucial to prove that you suffered injuries and someone else caused them. If you can’t prove these two things, you won’t be able to hold anyone liable for your injuries. The damages represent economic damages or monetary awards designed to reimburse you for your losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. In most cases, compensation for non-economic injuries has a cap.
However, there is no cap on punitive damages, and this intends to punish defendants who have acted egregiously and cannot apply in every case. Juries rarely award these damages outside of federal cases. A jury can award punitive damages when there has been an egregious act committed by one party against another; it does not require proof of malice. Punitive damages can include loss of reputation, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
- Foreseeable Harm
An injury or harm must be foreseeable for a defendant to be held liable. For example, if you trip over a log that has fallen on your lawn and break your leg, but your lawn service failed to remove it from your property, then you may have grounds for legal action. However, if you were drunk at home alone when you tripped over it, there’s no way anyone could have foreseen that happening. It would be hard to prove negligence in that case.
If you incur harm because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. However, to claim damages for your injuries, you need strong evidence proving wrongdoing. These elements can help form your argument if you pursue a personal injury claim. Hiring a reliable lawyer will also ensure that you have all your bases covered and know what steps to take next. The best thing you can do is contact an experienced attorney who knows how to build solid cases based on the key elements.