Proving Fault in Personal Injury
In personal injury cases, fault or legal responsibility is usually referred to as liability. In order to determine who is liable for an injury, it is essential to prove which party was negligent, or careless, in the situation. It is important to note that because negligence is often unintentional as opposed to an act that is premeditated or planned, it can be challenging in some cases to prove which party was at fault. In most cases, it is the individual who was less careful in a situation that resulted in an accident or injury who is legally liable.
Multiple Parties at Fault
In the event that two or more individuals caused an accident that resulted in injuries, determining liability can be complicated. For example, if two careless drivers caused a multiple-car accident in which you were injured, you may legally file a lawsuit to collect damages, or monetary compensation, from either driver.
Plaintiffs are certainly at an advantage when it comes to this law, which is held in most states. By having the option of pressing charges against any of the parties associated with the accident, you can ensure that the individual you file suit against is insured and, thus, will be able to pay damages if you achieve a successful outcome in your case.
Was the Plaintiff Careless?
Not all cases involving negligence are one-sided. Sometimes, the injured party’s actions contributed to his or her injuries, resulting in comparative negligence. Say, for example, that the plaintiff in a case was injured in a car accident when a car that ran a red light struck his vehicle. However, the only reason the plaintiff’s vehicle was so far in the intersection when the defendant’s car ran the red light was because the plaintiff had been inching into the intersection when his own light was red. Had he adhered to the laws of the road, his car would not have been in the intersection when the defendant ran the red light. In this instance, the court may decide that the plaintiff is 10% responsible for his own injuries and would reduce the damages that the defendant would be required to pay by that amount. So, if the ruling was for $5,000, the defendant would pay 10% less at $4,500.
Liable by Association
Finding fault can be further complicated by the involvement of a non-present third party. If a shoddily built home collapses and harms a renter who is inside at the time of the accident, the property owner would be liable for those injuries, even though the he or she may not have built the home. Similarly, if an employee causes an injury on the job, his or her employer may be liable for the damages.