Proving Fault in Personal Injury Accidents: General Rules
It is not always easy to determine who is at fault when an accident occurs. But, fortunately, there are a few general rules that you can use to determine fault.
Four Elements of Personal Injury
There are four important elements of personal injury. In order to have a personal injury case, you need to prove the following:
- Legal Duty of Care: In order for one individual to be at-fault, they must have owed a legal duty of care to the other individual. This covers the reasonable actions that are expected, including driving in a safe manner and providing proper safety equipment. Additionally, in some industries, a general duty of care is expected, such as in the medical industry.
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault individual must have breached that legal duty of care. This is usually through negligence or intentional harm.
- Causation: The actions of the at-fault individual must have been the direct cause of the accident.
- Actual Damages: There must be actual damages present from the accident that can be compensated.
When you and your legal team begin to build your personal injury case, you will collect documentation that provides support to each of these points.
Navigating Liability When Multiple Parties are At-Fault
It is possible for more than one party to be at fault. For example, if one driver is not paying attention and runs into the vehicle in front of them, but that driver was also not paying attention and swerved into the other’s lane, both drivers could be considered to be partially at-fault. The state of New Jersey is a contributory negligence state.
This means that the person seeking compensation must be less at fault than the other individual involved in the accident. If both individuals are at-fault, then the individual who is less at fault will receive a reduced compensation, based on the percentage in which they are at fault. For example, if one driver is found to be 60% at-fault and the other is 40% at-fault, driver two is eligible to receive compensation. However, their compensation amount will be reduced by the 40% in which they are at-fault.
Reasons to Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Determining who is at fault can be a lengthy process, especially if more than one party is responsible.
You might consider working with a personal injury lawyer for the following reasons:
- To build your case: Your lawyer will help you build your case by collecting items like medical records, a copy of the police report, witness statements, and photographs and videos from the accident. These items will help with determining the breach of duty and calculating the value of your claim.
- To negotiate an amount to appropriately cover your damages: Injuries from an accident can get expensive. A lawyer will help you calculate the value of your case, including damages like lost wages, medical bills, property damages, and rehabilitative costs. Some individuals will also be eligible for non-economic costs like pain and suffering and diminished earnings.
- To manage communication: There can be a lot of back and forth when communicating with the insurance companies and the other legal team. Your legal team will manage all communication for you.
- To allow you to focus on your recovery: Many accident injuries require a lengthy recovery process. Focus on yourself and leave the rest to your legal team. When you work with a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with filing injury claims in New Jersey, you not only have more time to focus on you, but they will also educate you on the process.
Personal injury cases, especially ones with multiple people at fault, tend to go back and forth, with each party attempting to prove why they are, or are not, responsible. If you were injured at the fault of another party, then it is only right that they cover your damages. The right legal team will help you navigate your case and fight for what you deserve.
Contact a Hudson County Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a personal injury in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Birkhold & Maider, LLC represent clients injured because of a personal injury in Hudson County, Essex County, Mercer County, Union County, Nutley, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 947-4670 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 189 Franklin Avenue, Suite 1, Nutley, NJ 07110, as well as an office Hamilton, New Jersey.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.