What is the liability of personal injury?

by Staff

In a personal injury case, liability is an enforceable claim against another party’s assets for damages caused by negligence or deliberate misconduct. There are multiple liability theories in tort law that you might pursue after an accident or injury.

Not all liability theories apply in all personal injury cases. The kind of liability used in personal injury claims depends on the specific facts and conditions of the case.

General Negligence Claims

Negligence is one of the most typical legal theories used to produce liability for a personal injury claim. If you can prove that a defendant acted negligently and hurt you, they can be held responsible for your injuries.

To establish liability for damages, you must prove the elements of negligence:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant breached the duty of care
  • The defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injury
  • You sustained damages because of the breach of duty

The “reasonable person standard” identifies the level of care the defendant should have used in the circumstances that resulted in your injury. Jurors decide what a reasonably prudent person would have done given the same conditions.

If the defendant’s behavior did not meet the reasonable person standard, they may be negligent. However, you must also prove that the failure to act with reasonable care (breach of duty) directly caused your injury and damages.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence can reduce the value of a personal injury claim by putting partial fault and responsibility on the plaintiff. If an accident victim is partially responsible for the cause of their accident or injury, they are liable for a part of their damages.

For instance, suppose a court finds that the plaintiff was 30 percent responsible for their car accident. The most that the plaintiff can recover is 70 percent of the value of their damages. The plaintiff would be liable for the remaining 30 percent.

Strict Liability

A negligent party might be held strictly liable for damages in some cases. Strict liability does not require the victim to prove intent or negligence. The plaintiff just needs to prove that the defendant participated in particular conduct that caused the plaintiff’s injury.

For instance, strict liability applies in product liability cases. When faulty products cause injuries, manufacturers, designers, and sellers can be held liable for damages. Other claims that usually use strict liability include claims involving wild animals, dog bites, and unusually dangerous activities.

Vicarious Liability

In the majority of personal injury cases, the individual that acted with negligence is usually liable for damages. That being said, a party may be vicariously liable for damages caused by another party in some cases.

Vicarious liability is commonly used to establish employer liability for an employee’s negligence. The employee needs to have been acting within the range of their employment when the accident happened for vicarious liability to apply. Vicarious liability also requires a supervisory role between the parties.

Negligence Per Se

In the majority of injury claims, the plaintiff has the burden of proving negligence and fault to establish liability for the defendant. However, the theory of negligence per se moves the burden of proof to the defendant.

Negligence per se establishes a presumption of negligence. The defendant must convince the court that the presumption is false.

For negligence per se to be applied in a personal injury claim, the defendant has to have broken a safety law and injured the plaintiff. For example, negligence per se might apply if the defendant violated the speed limit and caused an accident.

Our legal team at Marko Law is dedicated to holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. We take up the fight with insurance companies and demand fair treatment of your case. If you’ve been injured in an accident, don’t deal with insurance companies or try to go it alone. You need an experienced personal injury attorney in Detroit who will fight for the compensation you deserve.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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