How to Prove Liability & Damages in Personal Injury ClaimsApril 17, 2018
Carelessness, recklessness and negligence often cause accidents, injuries and deaths. While accident victims (or victims’ families) may have legal options for seeking recovery and justice, some specific elements must be established in order for these personal injury claims to be successful. These elements include liability and damages.
Uncovering more about how to set cases up for success, the following explains how to prove liability and damages in personal injury claims. While this information is generally helpful to the victims of negligence, please don’t hesitate to contact a Houston personal injury attorney at the Amaro Law Firm whenever you need legal advice specific to your circumstances and potential claim.
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Establishing Liability: How to Prove Fault & Negligence
Liability refers to the legal responsibility one party holds in relation to some event. To prove that a party is liable for an accident, it is necessary to prove that:
- The party in question owed a duty of care to the victim – A “duty of care” is a legal responsibility to act with a certain level of caution in order to prevent injury or harm to others. The specifics of a given situation can impact whether a duty of care is owed and, if so, the nature of that duty.
- Example: Complying with traffic laws, paying attention to the road and driving while sober are typically the duties of care a motorist owes to others on the road in order to minimize the risk of an auto crash.
- The party breached the duty of care – A breach can be any act that goes against what a “reasonable person” would do in the same (or a similar) situation. This element goes towards proving negligence.
- Example: A property owner knew about (or should have known about) a broken elevator and failed to fix or close off the elevator, breaching his duty of care to visitors of the property.
- The breach of duty of care caused the victim’s injuries – This involves proving that the negligence of the party in question was directly responsible for injuring the victim. In other words, negligence alone is not sufficient for a personal injury claim. The negligence must have caused the victim some harm.
In addition to liability, damages must also be proven as part of a personal injury case. Damages for personal injury claims can vary, according to factors like (but not limited to):
- The nature of the event that caused the injuries
- The severity of the injuries suffered
- The other losses victims may have incurred as a result of negligence.
Generally, damages for these cases can include (and may not be limited to):
- Medical bills
- Lost earnings
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering.
These damages are known as “compensatory damages” because they are intended to help restore victims to the state they were in prior to the injury-causing event (to the extent possible).
When an especially horrific act of negligence may be associated with a particular claim, punitive damages – to punish the negligent party – may also be available. While rare, punitive damages can substantially increase the recoveries from personal injury cases. As such, these damages can motivate negligent parties to try to work out favorable settlements outside of court (in order to avoid the risk of being ordered to pay punitive damages at the end of a trial).
Proving Liability & Damages in Personal Injury Claims: The Bottom Line
With personal injury claims, the bottom line is that:
- Establishing liability and damages is pivotal to the success of a claim.
- An experienced lawyer can be crucial to proving liability and damages and helping accident victims obtain the recoveries they deserve.
Set Your Claim & Recovery Up for Success: Contact a Houston Personal Injury Attorney at the Amaro Law Firm
A Houston personal injury attorney at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you successfully navigate the path to recovery and justice if you or a loved one has been harmed by negligence.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for a FREE consultation and essential legal advice regarding your potential claim. In a FREE case evaluation, we will explain your legal options and how to proceed with a claim.
Strategic and experienced, our lawyers have the skills, dedication and resources to provide superior advocacy for various types of personal injury claims. Testimonials from our former clients, as well as our 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook, affirm our record of exceptional service and success in personal injury cases.