Some Fundamentals to Understand About Your Personal Injury Case
One of the first steps in evaluating a personal injury case is analyzing whether or not there is a party legally liable for causing your injuries. There are many statutes and many cases by the Georgia Court of Appeals and Georgia Supreme Court interpreting those statutes, making the answer on liability extremely dynamic. We discuss a bird's eye view of a typical personal injury case in Georgia for you below.
Duty of Care
The most fundamental inquiry into any potential personal injury matter is whether or not a potentially at fault party owed a legal duty of care to an injured party. That duty of care for instance can be a duty of care to exercise reasonable care in the operation of a motor vehicle. Or there can be a duty of care to exercise extraordinary care when transporting passengers on a non emergency transportation van. Ultimately, the duty of care requires an actor to behave with a certain level of care and skill in any conduct he or she is engaging in.
Breach of Duty of Care
When the law imposes a duty of care and an actor fails to exercise that level of care or breaches that duty of care, that is generally referred to in the law as negligence. An example of a breach of a duty of care or negligence would be where a motorist is texting while driving and causes an accident that injures another passenger. In fact, the law would could this act negligence per se, meaning this behavior violated a state law and is automatically negligence.
In some instances, a party may be at fault for causing an accident because he or she breached a duty of care. Nonetheless, an injured party may have also engaged in conduct that contributed in some way to the accident occurring. When an injured party has engaged in conduct that contributed to his/her accident this is called contributory negligence. At a jury trial, a jury can take the amount of contributory negligence on behalf of a plaintiff into account when deciding how much to award a plaintiff.
Damages refers to the medical injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, property damage, and even loss of enjoyment of life that a person has suffered when he/she has been injured in a personal injury matter. In many instances, the issue of damages may not be as clear cut as it appears because one must prove by preponderance of evidence that the liable person's conduct caused the specific injuries that the damages are being claimed for.
As previously alluded to, an injured person must establish that the injuries complained of and the bills asserted as a basis for compensation are related to the accident caused by the offending party. Based on the general nature of some injuries, this can be very apparent in some cases. In some cases, this may not be so apparent and medical expert testimony may even be required to help prove this matter.
When multiple people or entities breach a duty of care and cause injuries to an injured victim, they can all be held liable. If a case goes to a jury, a jury can find each defendant liable and damages awarded can be apportioned by the percentage of liability that a jury finds each defendant liable.
Similarly, if an injured party is found contributorily negligent at trial, the jury can apportion the jury verdict or reduce the amount of the jury verdict by the percentage that it finds an injured party also responsible.
Lawson Law Firm is your Lawrenceville Georgia personal injury law firm. We work hard for injured victims. We are based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, but we represent injured victims all throughout metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else's negligence, give us a call today so that we can get you the justice that you deserve.