A personal injury claim is only valid if it demonstrates that the victim’s injury was directly caused by another party’s negligence. Otherwise, the victim cannot recover compensation for his or her damages.
So what is negligence? Here are a few examples of negligent acts that can cause an accident:
- Driving drunk;
- Failing to repair a broken staircase in a timely manner;
- Allowing an aggressive dog to wander the neighborhood without a leash;
- Knowingly serving a food product that has been recalled for potential contamination or undeclared allergens;
- Disregarding the posted traffic signs while driving; and
- Failing to consult a patient’s medical history before prescribing a drug.
What do all of these scenarios have in common? In each of them, a party failed to take reasonable care to protect others from harm. That is the definition of negligence, also known as fault.
The Role of Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
A successful personal injury claim does the following:
- Demonstrates that one or more party was negligent;
- Shows that because of this negligence, an accident occurred;
- Shows that because of the accident, the victim suffered one or more specific injuries; and
- Provides proof that because of the victim’s injuries, he or she suffered specific financial damages.
To demonstrate all of the above, the victim must make use of evidence such as photographs of the accident, his or her medical record, and testimonies from witnesses to the accident. In some cases, outside sources may be brought in to provide additional evidence. One of these sources might be a doctor who can act as an expert witness. Another might be an accident reconstruction specialist who can create a digital rendering of the accident.
Can More than One Party Be Negligent?
Yes. An example of this might be a car accident involving three drivers, one of whom was speeding, one of whom was text messaging while driving, and another who failed to yield. In this scenario, all three drivers may share some of the fault for the damages incurred through the accident. Because New York is a pure comparative negligence state, all three drivers may recover compensation for their damages, regardless of their level of fault in the accident. However, the amount of compensation they can recover is reduced according to their levels of fault for the accident. For example, if one driver is deemed to be 50 percent at fault and that driver is entitled to recover $60,000 in compensation, he or she may only recover up to $30,000.
Work with Our Team of Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys
Negligence is just one of the elements at play in a personal injury case. To learn more about how negligence fits into your case and your rights as an injured victim, speak with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Grant & Longworth, Attorneys at Law. Contact our firm today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.