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Updated: Sep 1, 2023

Determining fault in a personal injury case is a complex process that involves considering various factors such as negligence, duty of care, evidence, investigation, comparative fault, and legal standards. It is essential to gather and present strong evidence to establish fault and prove negligence. Additionally, understanding the role of comparative fault and legal precedents can significantly impact the outcome of the case.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a tort, or civil wrong, in which an individual or organization breaches a duty of care that causes harm to another individual or organization. The plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent in order to win a personal injury case. To do this, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a legal duty to protect the plaintiff, the defendant breached that duty, and the plaintiff suffered harm because of the defendant's breach of duty. If all of these elements are present, the court will find the defendant liable for the plaintiff's damages.

Determining Fault

The process of determining fault in personal injury cases is often complex and in hard to prove cases an accident lawyer and/or insurance adjuster can help determine who is guilty. There is always one party involved in an accident, but it all depends on who is liable and who caused the injuries and damages.

Courts often apply the rule of comparative negligence in personal injury cases to determine responsibility based on the carelessness of all parties involved in the accident.

  • Duty or Obligation of Care: The defendant had a legal duty or obligation to protect the plaintiff. For instance, all drivers have a legal responsibility to care for other road users.

  • Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must prove the defendant failed to perform their required obligation of care by acting in a way that caused harm to the victim. An example can be running a red light.

  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty is directly or indirectly responsible for damages or injuries. In this case, running a red light caused a collision that damaged the car and injured the plaintiff.

  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered losses that include vehicle damage and incurred medical bills to the injury. Not all personal injury claims involve negligence; strict liability cases where a product or package causes injury or death do not require the plaintiff to establish fault.

  • Intentional Wrongdoing: This is if the defendant intentionally caused harm to the plaintiff, which means they may be found at fault for injuries and damages.

  • Strict Comparative Negligence: With comparative negligence, both parties are partially at fault for a given accident; with strict comparative negligence, your percentage fault determines how much compensation you can seek from the other insurance company.



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