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What is Liability in a Personal Injury case?

What is Liability in a Personal Injury case?

[Video] Understanding the Complexity of a Personal Injury Case: Part 1

[Transcript]
If you’ve been seriously injured, you need a team of dedicated personal injury trial attorneys at your side. A lot of people don’t understand how complex the area of personal injury is. Today, what I want to do in this video is to make sure that you understand some of the basic building blocks of a personal injury case and why it’s so important to have an experienced attorney assist you along the way. To break that down for a personal injury case, we have three basic building blocks.

We have liability, causation and damages. Today, we’re going to focus on the first of these, which is liability; whose fault is it. In most of our personal injury cases, this comes down to what we call negligence; and negligence, as it relates to liability, is defined as someone, let’s say an at fault party, has a duty to you to do, or not do something. And they breached that duty by not meeting their “applicable standard of care”. That is a mouthful. So let’s break that down a little bit further by talking about a common vehicle crash scenario.

Let’s say that you’re driving on a simple two lane country road. You’ve driven this road before you’re familiar with it, you know your turn is coming up. So you’ve signaled well in advance of your turn. You’re slowing down gradually and you’re about to make your turn, but the person behind you, we’re going to call them the at fault party, is looking at their phone because their new, true crime podcast episode is about a drop and they want to make sure they start it as soon as they can. But that means their attention is on their phone and not on driving. And as soon as you get to that turn, they crash right into the back of you, your car spins around into a ditch and you break your leg and have other injuries. Because they weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing. That’s called negligence. That car behind you, that at fault party owed you a duty to keep a proper lookout and be attentive while driving and breach that duty because they were looking at their phones, something they weren’t supposed to be doing, which is below what their standard of care is supposed to be.

At this point, you have a personal injury. You are what we would call a plaintiff. And the other party is the at fault party or what we would call it. A defendant. If a lawsuit is filed, that’s a very basic and simple scenario and life, as we know is not always that simple or that neat or black and white, but Indiana law has a construct to take care of that.

It’s called comparative fault. This means that we are recognizing on the basis of the law, that multiple people can be percentages at fault for the same crash to illustrate that. Let’s go back to our example. Let’s say you’re not familiar with this road. Maybe it’s kind of dark out right now. You’re not really sure your turn is coming up.

Maybe you don’t signal for your turn or you signal very close to your turn and slam on your brakes to make that turn. The person still rear ends. You still end up in the ditch. Still end up with a broken leg. Well, at this point you could be at least partly at fault for this. When we have a plaintiff, you can be up to 50% at fault and recover up to 50% of your damages.

If you’d went to trial in this case, and you had a six person jury come back and say, you are 50% at fault, you would recover exactly. Half of your total amount of. If you were 40% of fault, you recover 60% of your total amount of damages. However, if you, as a plaintiff were to get to 51%, you would recover nothing.

That’s what we’d call a defense verdict. Understanding the complexities behind liability: How do we prove it? How do we potentially work with expert witnesses to find out what exactly happened? And who’s at fault? How to enter that evidence potentially at a trial, If we’d have to go to a trial and make the right arguments and ask the right questions to make your case and fight for you as best as possible, takes a dedicated and experienced team of trial.

Our trial attorneys here at Bennett, Boehning and Clary are ready to help you get back to your normal, to get back on your financial feet and fight for you. We offer no cost, absolutely free consultations for you to come into our office to talk to us. So we can advise you as to if you have a case and how to best proceed.

At Bennett, Boehning and Clary, we’re here for you and here for life, whatever that might bring.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.

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