Understanding Who’s At Fault in a Personal Injury Case
At the heart of personal injury cases is a key matter known as liability, or legal responsibility for an incident. In every personal injury case, liability must be determined and proven in court in order to produce a favorable result for the plaintiff. In other words, if the case stems from a car accident, then the driver who caused the accident through negligence or recklessness could be found legally at fault and financially responsible for the damages.
It’s necessary to determine who is negligent in an incident because this points to fault. The legal concept of negligence involves the following elements:
- Someone owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- Someone breached that duty of care.
- That person’s actions caused the incident or injury.
- That person’s actions resulted in damages.
In a typical car accident case, every driver owes a duty of care to every other driver on the road. That is, all drivers are expected to obey the traffic laws and drive in a reasonably safe manner. If they speed or run a red light, they breach that duty of care. However, this breach alone isn’t enough to prove fault in a personal injury case. If a person runs a red light and doesn’t cause an accident, there is no lawsuit. If an accident does occur, then the lawyer must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions (failing to stop at the intersection) caused the accident and resulted in the plaintiff’s damages.
Looking for Exceptions
In some cases, a party may be held at fault for an accident even if that party did not directly cause the problem. For example, at a rental property, a loose floorboard causes a person to trip, fall, and sustain injuries. The property manager may be held at fault for failing to fix the dangerous condition, even if the manager did not actually cause the floorboard to become loose.
The Mesch Clark Rothschild law firm provides comprehensive legal guidance for individuals involved with personal injury cases. Our attorneys are vigorous litigators with experience handling a wide range of catastrophic and wrongful death injury cases. You can reach our office in Tucson at (520) 624-8886.