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Personal Injury Lawsuits

In order to prevail on a personal injury claim, the injured party, also known as the plaintiff, must prove that the defendant (responsible party) is responsible for the injuries. Typically, this is done by showing the defendant’s negligence or fault. The fault must be shown and established based on the facts of the incident. The elements of negligence include:

  • Duty of care — A reasonable person is held to a legally recognized duty of care depending on the type of incident.  For example in an auto accident, the duty may be the “rules of the road.” Generally, a person must prevent reasonable harms to another by their actions or inactions.
  • Breach of duty — A defendant breaches this duty by failing to meet the standard of care. Based on the circumstances, this could mean a failure to warn, failure to obey the rules of the road, the failure to act in a safe manner, or by behaving in an unsafe way that caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  • Causation — Causation is often difficult to prove. The defendant must have been the direct cause of the injuries. Another way to state this element is to say that the plaintiff’s injuries would not have occurred if it hadn’t been for the defendant’s behavior (action or inaction).
  • Damages — In order to recover during a trial, the plaintiff must prove that due to the defendant’s breach, he or she suffered harm, damage, and/or incurred a loss.

Damages in a Personal Injury Case

If each element is established in the plaintiff’s case, the court may award damages for losses. Most damages awarded are compensatory in nature. The standard is simple: if proven, the Plaintiff is entitled to “fair, just, and reasonable” damages.  The court will consider many factors when determining the amount of compensatory damages. The factors may vary depending on the specific facts of your case but typically include pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, future medical treatment, loss of function, the loss of activities or the quality of life, scarring and disfigurement, disability, and the loss of life itself.

DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please seek legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.