Personal injury claims can be difficult to prove sometimes. Even if you are injured, does the liability fall on the other party fully? The decision all comes down to whether or not someone was “negligent” and should be held responsible for the injury.
The majority of accidents occur as a result of someone’s negligence. A general rule of thumb for personal injury suits is that if one party was negligent, that other party must be responsible for at least a part of the losses incurred.
To determine legal liability, this concept applies to nearly all personal injury accidents. However, here are a few other situations to consider:
– If the injured person was some place he or she is not supposed to be, or wherever he or she should have anticipated the kind of behavior that produced the accident, the person who caused the accident may not be responsible since that person had no “obligation” to be watch out for the injured person.
- If the injured party was also negligent, his or her compensation may be reduced to the degree that negligence contributed to the accident. Comparative negligence is the term for this situation.
- If an employee causes an accident and is injured while working for another company, the employer may be held legally liable.
- If an accident occurs on property that is hazardous due to inadequate construction or maintenance, the property owner is responsible for failing to maintain the property, regardless of whether the dangerous state was caused by him or her.
- If a faulty product causes an accident, both the maker and the seller of the goods are responsible, even if the injured person has no idea who was negligent in producing or permitting the flaw, or how the defect occurred.
More Than One Person At Fault?
When more than one person is at fault for an accident, most state laws hold the negligent parties at fault and responsible for footing the bill for your injuries. The parties at fault then can decide among themselves who owes who for the settlement.
One advantage of this rule is that if one of the responsible parties is insured and the other is not, you may file a claim for the entire amount against the covered party. Even if both are covered, you will only have to deal with one insurance company to resolve your claim. You would first notify all liable parties that you may submit a claim for damages. Based on which insurance company accepts liability, that is the one you will likely pursue a claim against.
What If You Were Negligent?
Even if you were negligent and contributed to an accident, most states allow you to recover at least some compensation from anybody else who was negligent and contributed to the accident. By comparing the other person’s negligence to your own, the amount of the other person’s responsibility for the accident is established. The proportion of responsibility defines how much of the harm he or she is responsible for. Comparative negligence is the legal term for this rule.
This can be determined in various ways. But, let’s say Jim was rear-ended by another vehicle, but Jim stopped short and partly caused the accident. Well, instead of the other party being 100% at fault, he may only be 90% now. Due to Jim stopping short, he’s being accused of being 10% negligent and the other party agrees to pay 90%.
Make sense? Sort of. There is no exact method for calculating a person’s comparative carelessness. You and an insurance adjuster will examine all of the variables that may have contributed to the accident during claim discussions. From there, you determine how much your claim is worth and the percentages of negligence for both parties.
It is best to consult a personal injury lawyer when considering any kind of personal injury lawsuit. A good lawyer can guide you in the right direction and also negotiate on your behalf.
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