How Do Personal Injury Claims Work?
If you’re injured because someone else was negligent – it can happen to anyone – you’ll need to know how liability is determined in a personal injury case. After you receive medical treatment, you’ll need to schedule a case evaluation – at once – with a attorney handling injury claims in Kingston.
In personal injury cases based on injuries sustained in accidents, the legal basis for designating liability to one or more parties is the concept of negligence. When a person is negligent, and that negligence results in someone else’s injury, the negligent party may be held liable for the injury.
If you are injured in the State of Tennessee by a negligent motorist or by the negligence of a product manufacturer, a property owner, or a medical provider, immediately contact a to review your legal options and rights.
What Does It Take for a Personal Injury Claim to Succeed?
To succeed with a personal injury claim and prove that the party accused of negligence (the “defendant”) in fact caused someone’s injury, the alleged injury victim (the “plaintiff”) and his or her personal injury attorney must demonstrate that these four conditions existed:
- The defendant legally owed the plaintiff a duty of care to avoid negligence.
- The defendant breached the duty of care that he or she owed the plaintiff.
- The negligence of the defendant was the cause of the plaintiff’s personal injury.
- The plaintiff’s damages are quantifiable, and the defendant should pay for those damages.
What Does the “Duty of Care” Legally Require?
The first decision that must be made in a personal injury case is deciding whether the plaintiff was legally owed a “duty of care” by the defendant. The level or amount of care that is legally “owed” to another party is determined by the specific situation.
Drivers, for example, owe the other drivers on the road, passengers, and pedestrians the duty to operate a motor vehicle safely, responsibly, and soberly. Doctors owe their patients the duty to provide adequate, competent, and professional medical care and services.
If you own a business in Tennessee and the front sidewalk of your business is cracked or uneven, you have the duty to repair it as quickly as reasonably possible, but if the sidewalk to your home is cracked or uneven, your duty is to tell neighbors, friends, and visitors to watch their step.
Consumer product manufacturers have a duty to protect the general public from any defective consumer item that may injure those who buy and use the item.
When is a Duty of Care Breached?
The second decision that must be made in a personal injury case is deciding whether a defendant committed a breach of the duty of care by behaving negligently and by not acting as a “reasonably prudent” individual would have acted in a comparable circumstance.
Legally speaking, negligence happens when an accident and injury that could have been foreseen and prevented is the result of someone’s breach of the duty of care.
What Caused the Accident and Injury?
The third decision that must be made in a personal injury case is deciding if the defendant’s negligent breach of the duty of care actually and directly caused the plaintiff’s personal injury.
If you slip and fall because of spilled milk at a supermarket, the store’s management may have acted negligently, but if you walk away uninjured, you do not have a personal injury claim. Similarly, in a traffic accident, if you are not injured, you will not have a personal injury claim.
How Are Damages Calculated?
The final decision in a personal injury case is about the amount of compensation that the plaintiff may recover. After accidents that are caused by someone else’s negligence, injury victims are entitled, in most cases, to compensation for lost earnings, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
Injury victims can document their medical bills and lost wages, but it is more difficult to place an exact dollar value on personal pain and suffering. However, insurance companies, lawyers, and judges have established formulas to arrive at dollar amounts that are just and reasonable.
How Do Attorneys Conduct Personal Injury Investigations?
If you have been injured because another party was negligent – a driver, a property owner, a medical provider, a product manufacturer, or even a government agency – it is important to contact a Kingston personal injury attorney immediately after you’ve been treated for the injury.
After reviewing your case and discussing your rights and options, if you and your lawyer choose to move ahead with an injury claim, your lawyer will review the evidence – any video or photos of the accident, the medical records, and in traffic-related cases, the police accident report.
If there were eyewitnesses, your attorney should speak to them. Your attorney may investigate the defendant’s background to find if that party has been liable for similar incidents, and your attorney may also call on an expert witness – an accident reconstruction specialist or a medical authority – to provide a statement or testimony in support of your claim.
Will Your Case Go to Trial?
A personal injury case is typically resolved privately and out-of-court when the lawyers for both sides meet to work out a settlement. In those rare cases where liability is disputed, or if no acceptable settlement offer is made in the negotiations, your lawyer will take your case to trial.
At a personal injury trial, your Kingston personal injury lawyer will explain to a jury how the accident actually happened and how (and to what extent) you were injured. Your lawyer will then tell the jurors why they should find in your favor and order the defendant to compensate you.
Davis Law Firm Will Work With You and for You
When you are the injured victim of someone else’s negligence, you need an advocate: an injury attorney who will fight hard for the justice you need and help you recover the monetary compensation that you are entitled to by Tennessee law.
Davis Law Firm represents the injured victims of negligence in and near Kingston and across Tennessee. We handle personal injury cases based on traffic accidents, workplace accidents, premises liability, consumer product liability, and medical malpractice.
When you contact Davis Law Firm at 865-830-6286, our legal team will consider your case and explain your options. If you proceed with a personal injury claim, you will owe us nothing until we recover your compensation, and we will fight for you aggressively and effectively.