Posted on April 18, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team
For you to be able to file a personal injury case, you need to show the “smoking gun” – to put the fault and responsibility of the injuries and damages you sustained squarely on the court of the party you are suing. Proving the other party’s liability is the very foundation of a personal injury lawsuit. If you and your lawyer can’t prove how the other person is responsible for the pain, suffering and damages, then you can’t expect to claim for personal injuries.
What is liability?
For someone to be considered liable, it must be proven that:
- There was a duty of care that the party owes you, the complainant
- That duty was violated/breached by the other party
- There is a direct relationship to this breach of duty and injuries suffered by the complainant
- You suffered from damages and loss because of the injuries
Legal Duty to Use Care. The relationship between the complainant and the defendant must be that the defendant has the responsibility to ensure the safety of the complainant by virtue of their “relationship”. For instance, a doctor has an oath to do his patients no harm – the medical world has stringent standards of service and a doctor can lose his license for serious breaches of duty of care. A manufacturer has the obligation to ensure that products sold will not cause injure its buyers. A driver has the responsibility to ensure that passengers and pedestrians will not suffer harm from his driving. A property owner/mall manager has the duty to ensure shoppers are safe inside the mall. A homeowner who has a pool should make sure no one drowns in the pool.
Breach of Duty of Care. Simply put, the breach would be something that the other party should do and did not do or something that the other party should not have done but did. This is if it can be shown that another person who is reasonable could have foreseen the risk and done something to prevent it. Because of either an act or an omission of an act, this party put you at risk and subsequently injured you.
Causation. Of course, there can be no personal injury lawsuit based simply on the possibility or risk of injury. You can’t sue because conditions have been made risky by the other party. An actual injury must occur. And this injury must be caused by the other party’s acts or lack thereof. For instance, you can’t sue because there is a puddle in the floor, causing it to be slippery. You can’t sue the mall owner because of the slippery floor. However, if you slipped on the floor while walking along the mall and you can prove that the owner should have done something about it, you can sue for personal injury. Finally, an injury must actually occur. If a duty is breached and no injury occurs, there is no negligence claim. Furthermore, the breach must be the actual and proximate cause of the injury. If, for example, the person operating the chainsaw is using it in an unsafe manner, but you are injured by something unrelated to his or her unsafe actions, the claim of negligence would not be valid.
Damages. You need to show actual damages. This includes monetary damages due to medical treatment, the necessity to hire housekeeping or child care, lost income and so on.
- Placement of warnings. This is especially true for product liability cases. If there is a reasonable risk or safety issue in a toy or product and the manufacturer did not provide the proper warning about the risk and a person is injured, that person can sue for personal injury claims.
- Your own acts. Duty of care may not exist, depending on your own acts as well. For instance, if you were careless or were actually trespassing, duty of care will be seen in a different light.
- Levels of liability:
Strict liability. The other party can be held strictly liable if it can be proven that he could have prevented the injury and damages but did not do so. This is regardless of whether you had some part in the accident. For instance, if a dog owner already knew that his dog has a history of attacking other people but did not restrain the dog properly, he is liable.
Comparative negligence. It may be that both you and the other party have their share in causing the accident. Comparative negligence may result in a smaller amount of compensation, since you were partly to blame for your injuries.
Proving that the other party is liable may be a complicated matter, depending on the type of case you have. Even when you hire a lawyer to help with the lawsuit, it may take time and considerable expense. It’s best to ensure that you have sufficient resources to battle it out. You may need lawsuit settlement funding so that you have funds to pay for medical expenses, your family’s everyday needs, as well as costs related to the lawsuit.
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Posted on April 12, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team
If you are a victim of an accident that is someone else’s fault, you can seek redress by suing the erring party for compensation. But, if you have a previous injury, you must remember that it can also affect your personal injury claim.
Did you have episodes of back pain prior to the injury? Did you already suffer from headaches? One thing you can expect is that when you file a lawsuit, the other party’s defense will carefully look at your medical records and find reasons for them not to pay your claim or to at least lessen the amount they have to pay. They can do this by stating that the injuries you are claiming against was actually not caused by the accident but by previous events. When they can do this, the erring party only needs to compensate you for the harm he caused, and not for harm that you have previously experienced.
The “Eggshell Skull”. Under this principle, the adage: “You take the plaintiff as you get them.” applies. For you who have a pre-existing condition and have learned to manage that condition in such way that you are pain-free or are only suffering minor discomfort, you have the right to recover for your losses due to the accident. After all, the accident was not your fault.
Under the eggshell skull principle, falls two rules: The thin skull principle and the crumbling skull principle.
The “Thin Skull” principle. The erring party can try to avoid payment by pointing out that the injury was caused by a previous event. However, if you can prove that your pre-existing injury was actually made worse by the accident, you can file a claim for compensation based on the degree by which the accident worsened the pre-existing injury. The increased level of pain and worsened physical situation is based on the “eggshell skull” principle. Based on this, even if the accident should not have caused such damage under “normal” circumstances (i.e. you are in good physical condition), the erring party is still liable for the injury. Regardless of the fact that you basically walk around with an “eggshell skull”, the premise is that you would have been perfectly fine had it not been for the accident.
For example, if you are already suffering from osteoporosis and you had a minor slip up due to a wet floor inside the mall. The mall operators will be liable for the full extent of the damage and injury you experienced, even if any other person who had the same slip up would just have walked away intact.
The “Crumbling Skull” principle. The erring party only needs to pay you for the degree by which your injury was worsened. For instance, you already have scoliosis and are expected to have episodes of back pain in the future, regardless of whether the accident occurred or not. The erring party is not liable to pay for the back pain. However, if the accident has worsened your bad back so that you need to see a doctor for treatment, the other party is liable for those medical expenses.
Don’t lie about your pre-existing condition. Resist the temptation to hide your pre-existing injuries – there are no secrets in a lawsuit and for the court to find out that you lied or hid facts about your medical condition. Remember that when you file a lawsuit, the other party will be provided with access to your medical records. They will see what your doctor, chiropractor or other health practitioner has recorded about your condition, as well as the statements you gave them. They will also see how often you came for treatment.
Immediately seek treatment for your injury, no matter how minor. If that collision has jostled your previously injured back, be sure to go to the hospital to have it checked. Otherwise, the other party can say that it is due to your negligence and failure to seek treatment that your condition worsened. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that since you already have the condition before the accident occurred that the accident had nothing to do with the pain you are experiencing.
Pre-existing conditions can make your lawsuit even more complicated. It can also mean that more time before a lawsuit is decided on and settled. Meanwhile, you may be undergoing financial stress because of your medical bills and your day-to-day expenses, even as you are unable to work. You can seek help by applying for lawsuit funding.
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Posted on April 6, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team
Faulty electrical wiring may simply give you an unpleasant jolt. Or it can be career-ending. Worse, an electric shock can be fatal.
Take the case of a commercial airline pilot who suffered from electrocution while taking a shower in his hotel bathroom. He had recently passed a physical examination that vouched for his good health and eligibility to fly a plane. It was shown that the light fixture in the shower was defective and caused the electric shock, which affected his eligibility for his job. The pilot has the right to sue for compensation – for the pain and injury, as well as for the loss of his job.
Electric shock and burns
Electric shock and burns are caused by electricity passing through the body. The severity of the physical damage depends on the area of contact, the strength of the electric current and the length the person was exposed to the electric current. When the current that passes the body is perpendicular, passing from hand to hand, there is fewer electrical current that passes through the body. When the current passing through the body is parallel, passing from head to toe, there is more damage as more vital areas in the body are affected. If the person is wet (due to a shower or sweat), this could also have a negative impact on the severity of the injury.
Physical effects of an electric shock could include:
- Contact burns
- Deep burns in internal tissues
- Muscle injuries since the electric shocks force violent contractions of the muscles.
- Bone injuries (dislocations or fractures) – the violent contractions can also break or dislocated bones.
- Internal organ damage (kidney failure)
- Brain damage
- Cataract formation
- Death due to cardiac arrest
There are also secondary effects to the electric shock. If the person fell or was thrown backwards during the shock, he can also sustain additional injuries.
Causes of Electric Shock
Electric shock can be caused by:
Work accidents. Workers, particularly in the construction industry, have a higher than normal risk of electric shock, especially if safety procedures are ignored or violated. Construction sites may have open lines. Those working on roads may touch underground cables.
Defective products. Users of defective products may experience electric shock caused by faulty design or by faulty manufacturing.
Maintenance problems. Customers may be victimized in public facilities such as amusement parks, hotels, hospitals and so on if some of the equipment is poorly maintained.
Contractor mistake. Errors in the construction of the house and set up of electrical lines may result in electric shock injuries.
Other causes of electric shock include water penetration, sockets with too many electric appliances plugged in and faulty wiring.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for the Electric Shock
For you to have a case against the erring party, you must show that the other party has a duty of care to you – you are a customer, an invited guest, an employee. The other party must have the responsibility of ensuring that the product or premises is safe from electric shocks. It must be shown that if they had not been negligent, the shock and subsequent injuries could have been prevented.
If you are a victim of electric shock, you must make sure to seek medical treatment for your injuries so that it can be shown that you have done your part to minimize the amount of damage you sustained.
When you file an electric shock lawsuit, you should include the following:
- Medical expenses related to the electric shock (both present and future)
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of adaptive equipment and therapy
While you are waiting for your lawsuit to settle, you should consider applying for a lawsuit cash advance. This will help fund your medical treatment to ensure that there is no further physical damage. The cash you get from lawsuit funding can be also used to pay for your day-to-day expenses, as well as to cover for court-related costs.
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