Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Brief Look at Personal Injury Lawsuits

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

Personal injury law allows an injured person to file a lawsuit to recover damages for losses arising from a number of incidents, including:

  • Accidents -- Situations in which someone acts in a negligent manner that causes harm to another person, such as car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice
  • Intentional Acts -- A defendant’s intentional conduct causes harm to another person, for example assault and battery
  • Defective Products - Product liability claims arising from a defective product

Determining which party is at fault is the first step in a personal injury case. Once fault is established, a personal injury case can be brought. While many claims are settled by negotiation, if the parties cannot agree, a lawsuit will be necessary in order for an injured individual to obtain compensation.

What is negligence?

Personal injury claims often arise because of negligence by the party at fault. Negligence is defined a conduct that falls below "the standard of care" expected of a reasonable person that causes harm to the injured person. There are four elements of negligence as follows:

  • Duty -- A duty of care or the responsibility one person has to avoid causing harm to another
  • Breach  -- The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached the legal duty of care
  • Causation -- The defendant must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries
  • Damages -- The plaintiff must incur actual damages, usually monetary such as medical bills, lost income from time missed at work, or property damage

Some injury claims do not involve negligence, and in these cases proving fault can depend upon establishing intentional conduct, proving "negligence per se," or showing the "strict liability" standard of proof applies. The legal elements of a personal injury case can be difficult to prove, and determining fault requires a thorough investigation in order to determine if there are grounds for a personal injury case. This requires the expertise of a personal injury attorney in collecting physical evidence, interviewing the involved parties, obtaining any necessary police reports, and collaborating with experts.

If you have been harmed in an accident or suffered an injury because of the conduct of another person, you should consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who can help you obtain compensation.

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