There's a lot more to pushing a claim of damages than hiring a personal injury attorney and waiting for a settlement. If you're thinking about pursuing a case, here are three of the key issues that are likely to matter.
Negligence, Malice and Recklessness
The core concept at the center of tort law is the notion that other people have a responsibility to avoid allowing preventable harm to come to others by way of their actions or inactions. The three legally recognized ways you might harm another party are neglect, malice, and recklessness.
Neglect is when something happens because a party forgot to do something. A slip and fall incident at a store that occurs because of water that wasn't mopped up is a commonly cited example. Malice is when a deliberate action led to someone being harmed and you meant for them to be harmed. Many types of wrongful death cases fall under this heading. Recklessness is when your actions may have been deliberate, but your intent was never to harm someone. For example, a speeding driver comes around a turn too quickly and hits a pedestrian they didn't see.
It's easy to imagine how you've been harmed by the failures of another party, but there's more to it than that. You have to have legal standing, the right to sue. A lack of clear standing to sue is one of the primary reasons personal injury attorney services firms frequently reject cases.
The primary victims of incidents almost always have legal standing. Spouses usually do too, if they can show how the incident harmed them indirectly. The same frequently applies to minor children. Almost all other potential parties, such as siblings or business partners, will have to go to great lengths to establish standing.
Assignment of Responsibility
In most states, a party must be found at least 51% responsible for an incident to be assigned responsibility. This means that a victim who is found to be mostly at fault for an accident will recover no damages.
Bear in mind that settlements and judgments are based on the percentage of responsibility. Let's take as an example two cases with perfectly mirrored injuries. If one victim is found to be 25% responsible, they'll get 75% of the amount of the money that someone who was found to be 0% responsible gets. Partial responsibility is common in cases, and some states allow awards on less than 50 percent responsibility.
Call a personal injury attorney for more information.