One of the biggest issues in personal injury cases is determining who is to blame from a legal standpoint, also referred to as liability. The easiest thing to do is say that the person or business that led to your injuries should cover the cost of your injuries, but before you can get to the point of asking for money, you have to establish who was to blame from a legal standpoint.
Figuring Out Who is Legally Responsible
Most accidents are the result of someone not being careful. Generally, the person who exhibited the greatest degree of carelessness in an accident will be responsible for covering at least part of the damages the less careless person suffered.
From a legal point of view, placing blame is usually done according the carelessness rule—i.e. who was more careless—and by any or all of the following considerations:
If you are the injured party but you were in a place where you shouldn’t have been or somewhere where you should have expected the type of activity to occur that resulted in the accident, then the party causing the accident might not be legally to blame because they weren’t obligated to exhibit any degree of care since they weren’t expecting you to be there in the first place. For example, if you walk onto a building site, ignoring signs clearly stating workers are using heavy machinery and people aren’t allowed access, and you are involved in any form of accident, then the contractor might not be held legally liable since you shouldn’t have been there;
If you are the injured party and weren’t careful either, there’s a marvelous chance the amount of money you receive will be reduced in proportion to the impact your carelessness had on your injuries, which is known as comparative negligence. So, if you are involved in a car accident and the experts determine you were 30 percent to blame for the crash because you were speeding, for example, then you might only receive 70 percent of the damages you would have otherwise been awarded;
If someone causes an accident due to negligence while being employed by another person, the latter might also be liable for the accident, meaning they could also be forced to pay damages;
If the accident occurs on a property considered dangerous due to poor construction or improper maintenance, the person who owns the building is legally responsible because they didn’t maintain the property properly;
If an injury occurs due to a defective product, the company selling the product and the company that manufactured the product are legally responsible for the accident.
Proving liability in a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated and if you are found to be partially responsible, you could lose quite a large portion of the damages you are owed. For this reason, it’s wise to consult an attorney specializing in such cases, since he or she can advise you on the best course of action.
A Law Firm that Cares
At Makarem & Associates, we have dealt with a wide range of personal injury lawsuits and we can advise you on whether or not you are legally liable and what impact it will have on your lawsuit. So email us at [email protected] or call us at 310.312.0299 and let’s get started working on your case. The longer you wait the more difficult the climb is.