The issue of fault in most personal injury claims hinges on a singular legal concept called “negligence.” In these cases, the burden of proof lies on the injured victim to prove that the defendant acted negligently, which resulted in their injuries and losses. To prove the at-fault party’s negligence, you should have a seasoned personal injury lawyer on your side who can collect evidence and build a strong case for damages.
Legal Elements to Prove Negligence in Personal Injury Claims
There are four important legal elements to personal injury claims:
- Duty: You will need to prove the defendant had a responsibility to not harm you by acting with reasonable care or following the law.
- Breach: The defendant did not act with reasonable care leading to a breach of duty.
- Causation: You need to establish a causal link between the lack of care and your injuries.
- Damages: The purpose of a personal injury claim is to obtain compensation that requires a plaintiff to have suffered monetary losses.
Duty of Reasonable Care
When you enter a contractual relationship, it automatically creates a duty. For instance, the mechanic that agreed to perform repairs is dutybound to employ reasonable care while performing maintenance. You can hold the mechanic liable if they failed to inspect your vehicle and you meet with an accident.
Duty may also arise out of physical proximity. For instance, motorists are required to exercise reasonable care on the roads. The standard of reasonable care doesn’t necessarily require perfection.
Careless Action or Inaction Resulting in a Breach of Duty
To obtain a favorable outcome in your personal injury lawsuit, you would need to prove that the at-fault party breached their duty to exercise reasonable care. Under the law, a person that does not behave in a reasonably careful manner is called negligent and careless if their actions lead to injury or damage.
In many instances, a breach of duty of care becomes evident. For instance, if a driver goes beyond a posted speed limit and causes an accident, their actions can be termed negligent. Similarly, businesses are required to make sure their premises are reasonably safe before throwing open doors for customers. You should seek the help of a qualified personal injury attorney.
Establishing a Causal Link
In general, if you can show that the other person was negligent in their duty of acting in a reasonable manner, you would have established their legal responsibility for your injuries. For instance, it is easy to show that the at-fault party is responsible for injuries sustained as a result of a loose stairway handrail or distracted driving.
Based on this, the defense attorney may claim that even though the defendant acted negligently and breached a duty, their actions or inactions are not the primary cause of the accident and your injury. For instance, you may prove that the other driver was using their cell phone when the accident occurred. Taking this into account, the driver and their legal counsel may hold that the accident occurred because a cyclist cut across the road.
Proving Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
You cannot prove negligence and claim compensation if there are no injuries or damages. You need to prove that the responsible party breached the duty of care and caused significant harm and damages. In personal injury claims, damages involve physical injury, economic injury, and noneconomic injury.
Examples of damages include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Permanent impairments.
- Medical expenses.
- Cost of long-term care, personal care, and health care.
- Loss of income, such as wages, bonuses, commissions, and benefits.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
- Emotional and mental suffering.
- Decrease in quality of life.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Careful documentation of damages can increase the likelihood of recovering the maximum value for your personal injury claim.
Evidence Required for Establishing Negligence in Mississippi
Careful documentation of damages in a personal injury case increases the chance that you can recover the maximum value for your injury claim. It is challenging to prove the four elements of negligence. The process of gathering evidence is different since all personal injury claims are unique.
You may not be able to know whether or not a breach occurred without sufficient evidence. These are a few types of evidence that can help prove your personal injury:
- Photographs and videos of the crash site.
- Surveillance footage from nearby cameras.
- In-vehicle black box data.
- Police or accident reports.
- Eyewitness statements.
- Safety and training records.
- Employment records.
- Medical records.
- Mobile device data records.
If the evidence gathered is not enough you may need the testimony of experts, such as accident reconstructionists, automotive engineers, or medical professionals to bolster your claim. Expert witnesses can be useful in showing how the accident occurred, the injuries received, and the economic fallout from the accident.
You should work with a skilled personal injury attorney to help you through these aspects of a claim. By working with an attorney, you can utilize the necessary resources required for gathering evidence and proving your claim.
Choose a Results-Driven Personal Injury Law Firm with a Record of Large Settlements and Verdicts
The personal injury attorneys at Boyce Holleman & Associates have the resources, skills, and experience required for investigating accidents, collecting strong evidence, and negotiating aggressively with the defendants for your injury claim. We will leave no stone unturned to help you get the maximum financial compensation and justice you deserve. To set up your free consultation, call 228.338.2691 or reach us online.