The Two Parts to Every Personal Injury Case: Liability and Damages
A personal injury case can arise from many different situations, such as: a car accident, slipping and falling on some water in a gas station bathroom, sitting on a bench that just happens break, getting bitten by someones dog, or any other type of incident where someone else’s negligence causes you an injury.
Despite the myriad of different situations that can lead to a personal injury case, all personal injury cases have two important parts in common: 1) liability and 2) damages.
Liability is basically about whose fault it was. First, you must prove that someone else’s fault caused your injuries. You must be able to prove that someone, other than yourself, is liable for what happened to you. However, you don’t need to prove that it was totally someone else’s fault. Liability can be partial. You still have a personal injury case even if the other person was only partially at fault, and maybe it was partially your fault, it all depends. Sometimes, it can be that two or three people are at fault for causing your injuries. The bottom line, is that the liability portion of a personal injury case is about proving that someone else caused you to have an injury.
The damages part of a personal injury case is about how much money you can get from the person or people who were at fault of causing your injuries. The amount you can recover is usually proved by showing what type of medical attention you required, such as physical therapy, surgeries, chiropractic care, or any other type of medical treatment. Not only can you recover the amount of the medical bills you paid, but you can also recover for the pain and suffering you experienced due to the injuries and medical treatment you underwent. If your injuries are serious, and require a lot of medical treatment, you will be able to recover a larger amount of money, than if the injuries are minor and don’t require any medical treatment. If the person who was liable for your injuries was only partially at fault, then the amount of money you can get is reduced by the percentage of their fault.
When personal injury attorneys are deciding whether to take on a personal injury case, they will examine both the liability and the damages. The case must have both for a personal injury attorney to take on the clients case. Even if liability is clear, and it was 100% someone else’s fault, if there are no injuries, then it’s unlikely an attorney would take the case, because there wont be any damages to recover.
If you have been injured, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible, so the attorney can determine whether they can represent you in recovering money (damages) for you.
By: Michael Royer, Law Clerk at Sasooness Law Group, APC – Personal Injury Attorneys.