Most personal injury cases settle because the insurance company wants to handle the claim as quickly as possible. However, if your case involves serious injuries, you should consult a Austin Personal Injury Lawyer for legal help.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is a legal term used for determining who is responsible for monetary damages sought by the plaintiff. The major component in most personal injury suits largely depends upon proving that the victim through no fault of their own became injured. Proving negligence depends upon the following factors:
• The person inflicting the injury owed a duty of care to the plaintiff because they were acting in the role of service provider, i.e. legal or medical services.
• Breach of duty can occur when the offending person acts in such a way that that the fail to perform their duty as expected.
• Proximate cause happens when the professional actually inflicts damage upon the victim by failing to perform their duty properly.
• Damages can be sought when the victim has suffered a disability or permanent disfigurement as a result of their injuries.
How Negligence is Determined
When a judge or jury examines the evidence in a case, they try to determine who was at fault and if the victim contributed to the accident. Liability is the key element in all personal injury claims and proving negligence may affect the amount of your settlement. The laws in each state can vary on how they allow an individual to recover damages.
• Comparative Negligence—This rule of law is applied to situations where each party may have been responsible for a certain degree of negligence. Let’s say that you’re driving down the freeway and change lanes, cutting off another vehicle. The other driver ends up hitting your car. You made be partly responsible for the collision because you made an unsafe lane change. The plaintiff may be suing for $100,000 in damages, but the jury finds them 50% responsible. Therefore, they will only be able to receive $50,000 for their claim.
• Contributory Negligence—If a person contributes in any way to the accident, they may be prevented from collecting any damages. Fortunately, only 5 states currently use this rule of law, which includes Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington D.C.
• Strict Liability—This is a legal doctrine that holds people responsible when their negligent or careless actions led to the accident, regardless of whether they intended harm or not. Product manufacturers may be liable if they failed to include a proper warning about what ages are appropriate for a toy. If the toy poses a risk to children under a certain age, the packaging must specify the appropriate age level by saying, “Product only intended for children ages 6 and up”.
• Vicarious Liability—Employers may be held legally liable if their employee injures someone while they are performing their job. For example, if the employee is driving a company vehicle while making a delivery for the employer and hits a pedestrian, the employer can be sued through the legal doctrine known as “Respondeat Superior”.
How A Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Most people avoid confrontational situations. They don’t relish going head to head with insurance professionals who are trained to fight victims on settlement amounts. Many victims don’t understand the law and are unaware that their case may be worth much more than they realize. Contact an experienced Austin personal injury lawyer and get advice regarding your case and what damages you may be entitled to recover.