How Do You Determine Fault in a Personal Injury Case?

In some accident scenarios, it is difficult to determine fault in a personal injury case —and who caused it. For example, in a car accident that involves three or more vehicles, it can be hard to tell which vehicle driver caused the initial impact. When that happens, an accident victim’s lawyer can retain an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist, who can review the police report, speak with eyewitnesses, and piece together exactly how the accident occurred. For more information, please reach out to a personal injury lawyer.

If you suffered injuries in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you should immediately speak with a personal injury lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can help you retain the necessary experts to determine how your accident happened and can help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. Your lawyer can then help you negotiate a settlement that fully and fairly compensates you for your accident-related injuries.

If the insurance company adjuster handling your claim refuses to offer you appropriate compensation to settle, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize the compensation you recover for your injuries. Begin the legal process by seeking a free case evaluation today.

Types of Accidents that Result from Negligence

Fault in a Personal Injury Case

Several types of accidents can happen when individuals and entities are negligent. Negligence means acting unreasonably under the circumstances at a given time and causing injuries. Negligent parties should be responsible for the uncovered losses a victim incurs.

Some of the most common occurrences that result from others’ negligence include:

  • Car accidents – Car and truck accidents typically happen when drivers operate their vehicles recklessly. Careless and reckless driving can take several different forms. Some of the most common types include traffic law violations, such as weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating other vehicles, engaging in road rage, speeding, and failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time. Car and truck accidents also happen when drivers do not pay attention to the road or operate their vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Some accidents involve more than two vehicles, and when that occurs, only an investigation can determine who caused the accident. Generally speaking, the rearmost driver is responsible in this car accident scenario. However, if it remains unclear how the accident occurred, an accident victim’s lawyer may need to hire an accident reconstructionist to investigate or speak with eyewitnesses.
  • Bicycle and motorcycle accidents – Bicycle and motorcycle accidents also happen when drivers are reckless. Unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, cyclists do not have an outer covering surrounding them at the time of impact. Therefore, they experience direct exposure to their surrounding environment. They may suffer a traumatic head injury or broken bone if they fall.
  • Pedestrian accidents – Pedestrian accidents can occur anywhere pedestrians are present, including at intersection crosswalks, parking lots, and parking garages. These accidents typically occur when drivers are not paying attention to the road or when they’re intoxicated. A distracted or intoxicated driver may not see a pedestrian in the vicinity and strike them, knocking them to the ground and causing them to suffer a severe injury.
  • Truck accidents Commercial truck drivers must abide by a higher standard of care than other drivers. They transport valuable passengers or cargo in large, heavy vehicles that can cause extensive damage to other motorists. Truck drivers can make mistakes that lead to crashes, including violating traffic laws or trucking regulations. However, trucking companies regularly share in the blame for truck accidents. Cargo loading, negligent hiring, poor truck maintenance, and other missteps can lead to trucking company liability for a crash and resulting injuries.
  • Premises accidents – Property owners must regularly inspect their properties for unknown dangers and hazards. If they come across a hazardous condition on the premises, they must promptly correct it or, at the very least, warn about it. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs on their premises, they can be responsible for the resulting injuries and damages. Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises accident leading to personal injury claims, and a lawyer can advise whether your slip and fall was someone else’s fault.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in one of these accidents that resulted from another’s negligence, an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can help. Your lawyer can investigate the accident circumstances and determine if you are eligible to file a claim or lawsuit for damages. If you are, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the claims-filing process and work to recover the full amount of damages you deserve.

Personal Injuries That Accident Victims Suffer

Victims of serious accidents sometimes suffer injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Injured accident victims may also experience pain and suffering for an extended time.

An accident victim’s injuries depend primarily upon the type of accident that occurs and the manner in which the accident happens.

Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer include:

  • Traumatic head and brain injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Death

Some people underestimate their injuries and fail to seek an inquiry into their legal rights. Even seemingly minor injuries that heal with treatment can be costly, and anyone who caused your injury should be responsible for covering your losses. If your injury caused you to miss work or experience pain and suffering, always have a lawyer evaluate your legal options

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Proving Your Personal Injury Case

To recover compensation for injuries sustained in an accident, the accident victim has the burden of proof. This means they must present sufficient evidence to prove each element of a personal injury claim.

A victim must first prove that someone else was negligent. A person is typically negligent when they behave unreasonably under the circumstances. This typically means they did something that a hypothetical reasonable person should not have done in the same situation. This can involve violating a safety regulation or falling below the acceptable standard of care for the situation.

Next, the accident victim must show that the at-fault person’s negligence caused the accident. Causation means that the accident might not have happened but for the party’s negligence.

Accident victims must also show that they suffered an injury—and that their injury directly resulted from the accident. In many instances, an accident victim’s lawyer must retain a medical expert, such as a treating provider, who can testify at a deposition or jury trial about the accident victim’s injuries and causally connect them to the accident. Additionally, the expert can state, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the accident victim suffered a permanent injury that is unlikely to improve with time.

Finally, a victim must prove they incurred losses due to their injuries. Losses can include lost wages from missing work or intangible losses, such as pain and suffering.

Sometimes, it takes a thorough investigation to determine how an accident occurred and who was responsible. An experienced personal injury lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident and, if necessary, retain an expert who can help you satisfy the legal elements of your claim.

Talking With Eyewitnesses and Reviewing Their Written Statements

First, your lawyer can speak with eyewitnesses who saw your accident and how it occurred firsthand. Eyewitnesses can help when an insurance company disputes fault for an accident. For example, in a car accident scenario, eyewitnesses can speak to the relative speeds and directions of the vehicles, as well as their observations at the accident scene. Eyewitnesses can also testify that a driver was speeding or failed to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming vehicle, such as by running a stop sign, red light, or yield sign.

Reviewing the Police or Investigation Report

After an accident, you must speak with the responding police officer, manager, or security guard and discuss your version of the incident. Following a car accident, you should also insist that the police officer prepare a written report detailing the accident. In many instances, police reports will state who caused the accident and whether or not the officer issued the at-fault driver a citation.

Your lawyer can speak with the police officer and other individuals who came to the accident scene. Alternatively, your lawyer can issue a subpoena and require them to testify at a discovery deposition or in court at a trial.

Hiring an Accident Reconstructionist to Investigate the Circumstances

In some instances, police officers, witnesses, and others have contradicting stories. When that happens, your lawyer may need to retain an accident reconstructionist who can speak with all involved individuals, review the police or investigation reports, and piece together exactly how the accident occurred—and who was responsible. An accident reconstructionist can also be an expert witness and testify at trial to support your version of events.

Recovering Damages Following an Accident

To recover damages following an accident, the accident victim must file a timely claim or lawsuit and successfully prove the legal elements of their claim—including fault. In other words, the accident victim must demonstrate that their accident or occurrence resulted from another person’s negligence.

An accident victim’s monetary compensation will depend on numerous factors, including the severity of their injuries, the cost of their medical treatment, and the amount of pain and suffering they endured.

First, accident victims can recover monetary compensation for their lost wages if they had to miss work time after their accident. To recover these damages, they will typically need to introduce documentation from their employer stating the number of days they missed and the amount of money they made each day. In addition, accident victims may need to introduce written documentation from a medical provider, such as in a medical record, which states that the accident victim cannot work for some time after their accident.

Occasionally, accident victims suffer such severe injuries that they often switch jobs at a lower pay rate. When that happens, they might be eligible to claim the loss of earning capacity.

In addition to economic damages, some accident victims can recover non-economic damages for all the inconvenience, pain, mental distress, and suffering they endured after their accident. If their injuries, such as paralysis, prevent them from using a body part, they can make a loss of use claim. Moreover, they can pursue compensation for their lost enjoyment of life, permanent disability, and loss of spousal companionship and family support.

A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area can help you determine which of these damages you are eligible to pursue and recover in your case. Your lawyer can then file a timely claim or lawsuit on your behalf and work to recover the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.

Call an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Near You Today

Personal Injury Lawyer, Michael Hoosein

You are not alone if you suffered personal injuries in an accident resulting from negligence. In addition to seeking proper medical treatment for your injuries, you should retain a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in your area to represent you.

Your lawyer can first help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, prove the legal elements of your claim, negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system. Your lawyer can then help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or take your case to trial or binding arbitration.

In any case, you can rest assured that your lawyer will be by your side every step of the way, advocating for you and pursuing the monetary damages you deserve. You can focus on healing and treatment while knowing someone is fighting for your financial security following an injury. Seek a no-cost evaluation of your legal rights and options as soon as possible. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.

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