Have you ever been involved or know someone who was involved in an accident due to the negligence of another person? For example, a slip and fall injury on the tile floor of a hotel after an employee had just mopped where no warning signs had been posted. Many people feel as though they are helpless in these situations and that all subsequent medical bills must be paid for out of their pocket. Fortunately, since these cases are quite common in the US, there is a law designed to protect you in the event that you or your property undergo injury or harm because of someone else’s actions or failure to act. This is known as the personal injury law, or tort law.
There are two main issues in regards to every tort claim. Whether the case involves intentional negligence or strict liability, it all comes down to responsibility and damages. Does the defendant maintain liability for the damages you have encountered and if yes, what is the extent of the claimed damages? If the plaintiff’s lawyer can prove these two basic issues-liability and damages-to be valid in the case, our justice system will obligate the defendant to compensate for those losses.
Are you eligible to sue for your losses according to personal injury law?
The key point you must focus on when considering your case for trial is liability. One must be able to prove that harm or injury was caused due to a failure to apply reasonable care. To use the previously mentioned example, let’s assume you are involved in a slip and fall accident on the tile floor of a hotel, and this accident caused you to become injured. However, there was in fact a sign posted which stated to proceed with caution due to the floors being wet. In this instance, you have virtually no case because the person responsible has mitigated their liability. Had there been no posted warning, you would have a much better case. But here the defendant may argue the “assumption of risk” which places all responsibility on the plaintiff.
In addition to proving that this individual who caused your injury did so because of lack of care, you must also establish that failure to provide reasonable care could foreseeably result in injury. For example, after an employee finishes mopping the floor, it is foreseeable that one may slip had they not been provided a prior warning. Therefore, the injury could have been prevented. It was the duty of this person to provide the proper care and the violation of this duty caused your accident. If this can be proven then the defendant must compensate you for your damages.
If the defendant has been found guilty and is now responsible for covering your cost of damages, what exactly does that entail? The laws pertaining to personal injury vary from state to state. However, in the state of Florida, the defendant would be responsible for covering:
-All related medical expenses; past, current, and estimated for the future.
-Missed time from work, which includes trips to the doctor and medical treatment facilities.
-Any damaged property, like your vehicle.
-Costs of commissioning someone to complete the household chores you couldn’t do while injured.
-Any permanent disabilities or disfigurement.
-Emotional distress related to the accident including depression, anxiety, and interference with your family relationships.
-Other expenses that resulted directly from your injury.