Personal Injury Liability: How to Prove Fault When You’re Injured

What do Gloria Estefan and Dr. Phil have in common?

Both celebrities are familiar with personal injury liability lawsuits. Gloria’s case began when a truck driver slammed into the side of her tour bus, causing severe injuries in her back.

After filing a claim, the justice system awarded her damages for $8.95 million. On the other hand, Dr. Phil is part of an on-going injury liability lawsuit against him because his dog severely bit someone.

Personal injury cases might be different in nature, yet they all have the same purpose of helping out the injured party. Settlement payouts from liability cases can take a lot of the financial pressure off the injured individuals.

Yet, if you aren’t able to successfully prove the defendant’s at fault, you won’t be receiving any type of compensation. Read on to learn how to get the money you deserve from a personal injury lawsuit.

Understanding Personal Injury Liability

What exactly is a personal injury? According to a personal injury lawyer, personal injuries aren’t injuries that happen to your things or property. Instead, a personal injury happens to the body, mind, or emotions.

For example, if you slip on a wet floor at the gas station, personal injury liability would cover any physical harm to your body, as well as any emotional trauma. Let’s say you broke your leg, and felt incredibly embarrassed, you could file a personal injury claim. Yet, if in the fall you also broke your watch, the injury claim wouldn’t be able to help with that.

Car Accidents and Liability

Automobile accidents offer a prime example of how personal injury liability claims work. Let’s pretend you live in a “fault” state, meaning the driver who causes an auto accident has to pay for the damages. In this state, your injury claim would be a negligence claim.

By law, drivers have to use reasonable care while out on the road. It’d be your job to prove that the other driver failed to exercise reasonable care, causing the accident, and resulting in your injuries.

Strict Liability and Intentional Harm

Strict Liability is when you hold a manufacturer responsible for defective products. In the fall of 2017, Samsung had to recall all 2.5 million of its Galaxy Note 7s, after dozens of customers sustained injuries from exploding phones. The injured customers were able to file strict liability cases.

All you have to prove in a strict liability case is that the product was unreasonably dangerous. Specifically, you have to be able to show that the product was unreasonably dangerous while you were using it for it’s intended use.

For example, you couldn’t juggle with knives and then win a personal injury case against the knife’s manufacturer’s because you cut yourself. However, if you have an instance, like with the android phones, where there wasn’t any misuse of the product, a strict liability case would work.

Intentional Harm

When somebody hurts you on purpose, even if it’s meant to be funny, you can file a personal injury claim. In this situation, it’s most likely that you’d win a suit for battery against the defendant. Intentional harm cases can also occur if a store authority wrongly detains you for shoplifting.

Types of Damages and Liability

Regardless of where the personal injury claim’s arising from, all personal injury cases deal with damages and liability. An accident injury attorney will help you prove the defendant’s liability, while also telling the court the extent of your damages.

Damages are the amount of money the law can impose on someone for not following their duties. Typically there are 2 types of damages; punitive and compensatory.

Compensatory Damages

When an injured party’s awarded money to cover their losses, it’s compensatory damages. When the harm isn’t intentional, it’s most likely that the damages will be compensatory. Here’s a shortlist of the different types of compensatory damages you can file for:

  • Medical
  • Income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment

Medical damages are the costs of the medical treatments associated with the injuries. This can include medical bills you’ve already paid, and ones you’ll have to pay in the future. Income refers to helping individuals recover funds for any money they lost from not being able to go to work.

Punitive Damages

When the at-fault party receives a punishment, it’s called punitive damages. For example, if someone chose to drink and drive, they might have punitive damages to deter their behavior, on top of having compensatory ones.

Proving Damages and Liability

It’s your job to prove that the defendant was liable for the damages you sustained. If you can prove their liable, you then must be able to prove the types of damages you’ve suffered, and how the injuries are impacting your life. When you can prove both liability and damages, the justice system can award you the compensation you for your loss.

Accepting Your Settlement

Now you know more about how personal injury liability works, and what you’ll need to prove. Yet, even though it’s exciting to think about depositing a large check in your bank, you should never rush into accepting an offer.

We know that recovering from injuries can be exhausting, and the last thing you want to do is draw out the legal process. Yet, if you want to have the funds you need for long-term recovery, you must hold out for an acceptable offer. Listen to the advice given by your personal injury attorney on whether or not the offered compensation is sufficient or acceptable.

While you’re waiting for your injury case to close, why not take your mind off of things for a while? Give your mind a break from the legal world, and see what’s happening in our News section, today!