The basis of most personal injury cases is negligence. Essentially, the personal injury case is to establish that an injury was caused by someone else’s fault for the accident. Negligence can sometimes be difficult to understand so it can be easily explained by using duty of care.
Duty of care is simply the responsibility of one person to not injure another person. In order to win a personal injury case, the first point that must be proven is that someone else was negligent. In order for another person to be considered negligent, it must be proven that they were a duty of care in the situation in which the injury took place. Once it is established the other person was a duty of care, the injured person will have to prove how the defendant (the other person in the situation) breached their duty of care. After it can be proven that there was a breach in the duty of care, the injured person must show they suffered injuries directly related to the breach.
In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff (the injured person) needs to show that something the defendant did or did not do something that failed to reach the expected level of care in the situation. The basis of what is the standard amount of care for each situation depends on different situations. Here are some examples of reasonable care for different situations:
Traffic Accident: Anyone operating a car has the legal obligation to drive their car with care. This includes taking outside factors, including traffic, visibility, and weather, into consideration when operating the vehicle.
Slip and Fall Accident: A business or property owner is legally obligated to keep their building free from known risks and they must remedy any found dangers within a reasonable amount of time.
Medical Malpractice: A doctor has the legal duty to provide the same level of skill and care in a treatment that another reasonably competent doctor or health care provide would act while enduring similar circumstances.
Defective Products: The seller, manufacturer, and distributor of a consumer product have the legal obligation to create and distribute products that do not have any unexpected or unreasonable dangers to the purchasers.
After the plaintiff has been able to establish duty of care, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to show exactly what the defendant did or did not do that made their behavior inappropriate or unreasonable for the circumstance. In some instances, the plaintiff may have taken part in causing their own injuries, along with the defendant’s negligence. In most states if this is the case, the plaintiff’s awarded compensation could be lessened by the amount that equivalates to the percentage that it was their own fault. In some states, however, if the plaintiff is found to be even slightly responsible for the accident, they will not be able to receive any compensation from other defendants. This is known as a system called contributory negligence. The final step in a personal injury case after proving negligence is to show how the plaintiff was injured by the defendant’s inaction or action.
If you have any questions about negligence in your case, contact a personal injury lawyer Cheyenne, WY, residents recommend for aid.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt for their insight into personal injury law.