Proving a Personal Injury Claim in Court

When you are hurt in an accident and you believe your injuries are someone else’s fault, this is known as a personal injury case. You may have been hurt at someone’s home, bit by someone’s dog, or injured in a car accident. All of these situations can lead to personal injury claims. When people are hurt and it is clearly someone else’s fault, the responsible party’s insurance often covers the costs, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But an insurer is not always available or amenable to a settlement. When you cannot recover from insurance but you need help paying for all of the consequences of your injuries, you must file a personal injury suit against the responsible party. Once you head to court, it will be up to you and your attorney to prove that the at-fault party had a duty toward you and negligently breached that duty, causing you damages.

Did the Other Person Have a Duty of Care?

The first element of a personal injury case is that the at-fault party, not the defendant, had some type of duty toward you. In some situations, this is easier to prove than others. For instance, all drivers have a duty of care toward others on the road. This duty of care includes acting reasonably behind the wheel, following the rules of the road, and avoiding accidents when possible. You and your attorney can discuss your situation and what type of duty of care the other person owed you.

Did the Other Person Breach The Duty of Care?

Once you and your attorney have established that the defendant owed you a duty of care, you must next prove that the person breached this duty. You must show that the defendant’s actions were negligent because they did not abide by the standard of care. In an auto collision example, a breach of the duty of care toward other drivers can include speeding, drunk driving, or reckless driving.

You do not have to prove that the defendant broke the law, but a traffic ticket or criminal conviction can support your argument.

Did the Breach Lead to Your Injuries?

In addition to proving that the defendant breached the relevant standard of care, you and your attorney must show the court that this breach led to your injuries. It is not enough that a breach occurred. The defendant’s negligent actions had to have been the actual cause of your injuries.

You will also need to demonstrate the economic and noneconomic damages associated with your injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Florida follows what is known as the comparative negligence rule. This means the court can look at both the defendant’s and your responsibility in the incident. If you were also partially at fault for your injuries, you can still recover, but your damages will be reduced proportionally to your degree of responsibility. For instance, if you are found 25 percent responsible for your injuries, the amount awarded to you by the court will be reduced by 25 percent.

We Are Here To Help

Personal injury situations can be difficult to deal with, particularly when you are trying to physically recover from an accident. For answers to your questions about your rights and personal injury suits, contact or call the experienced Tavares personal injury attorneys of Oldham & Smith at (352) 292-1620.


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