How Personal Injury Law Apply to Injuries?
A personal injury case must meet legal qualifications if you want to file a lawsuit. In other words, grounds must exist to pursue a case. The purpose of pursuing a case is to hold another party accountable for damages, for wrongful injury or social injustices. The person bringing the lawsuit is called the “plaintiff” and the person being sued is called the “defendant.”
Personal injury law falls under civil law (not criminal law) and provides recourse for compensation. When more than one party is responsible for damages or injuries, the case may be filed against multiple defendants.
Are Personal Injury Cases More Difficult to Prove than Criminal Cases?
The burden of proof for a personal injury case is lower than for a criminal case. Many people are familiar with the legal concept of “innocent until proven guilty” and “proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” This describes the burden of proof in a criminal case. However, the burden of proof in a personal injury case is typically a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the lawyer must convince the judge or jury that there is greater than a 50 percent chance the defendant is guilty. For this reason, even if the defendant was acquitted in a criminal case, a judge or jury may find them guilty in a personal injury case.
Proving Negligence or Reckless Conduct
When you suffer injury and want to recover compensation, your attorney must prove negligence or reckless conduct.
- To prove the defendant was negligent, lawyers must establish the following:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. For example, drivers on the road must follow traffic laws. Abiding by the law is their duty of care to other drivers.
- The defendant breached his/her duty. Sometimes this involves breaking a law. For example, driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) over .8 is a violation of the duty of care drivers owe to other drivers.
- Causation. An attorney would have to show that the driver (defendant) was intoxicated and as a result crashed into the other driver.
Damages. Unless there are damages, there would be no compensation. The plaintiff must prove that actual damages occurred. Examples include: medical bills, lost wages due to injury, damaged vehicle, etc.
- Unless there are damages, there would be no compensation. The plaintiff must prove that actual damages occurred. Examples include: medical bills, lost wages due to injury, damaged vehicle, etc.
If Someone Else Seriously Harmed You, Speak with an Attorney
If you are seriously injured and the damages are considerable, seek legal help as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you hold the party at fault accountable.