Personal injury is a civil law case where victims seek monetary retribution for accidents. These types of cases can arise out of common situations that include traffic accidents, malpractice by professionals, liability in the premises of a home or business, and nursing home abuse, among many others. The court system refers to the person injured as the plaintiff and the party being sued as the defendant.
There are situations where the party that suffers the abuse or was the victim of the negligent behavior dies. In this case, the family may represent the party in a wrongful death suit. For cases of personal injury, the burden of proof is lower than in cases where a crime takes place. As the civil case with O.J. Simpson demonstrated, a person can be found not guilty of a crime but still be held liable for negligence.
Hiring a lawyer
Sustaining an injury can be emotionally and physically challenging. Victims will go through a wide spectrum of emotions that include depression and anger and will feel helpless at times. As overwhelming as the process may be, accident sufferers must remain calm and look for an attorney to help recover medical costs and other associated losses, such as missed wages from being unable to work. Look for experts that specialize in the specific realm of the accident and are in the area. For example, if in California you might choose to hire an expert Santa Barbara injury lawyer who has experience in personal injury. Hiring a lawyer is beneficial because it eliminates the need to argue against a legal expert who is trained to defend. Furthermore, a lawyer will help complete the paperwork and investigate the case, making the process easier and free of errors.
To prove negligence, the plaintiff will need to establish that the defendant had the duty of care and breached it by causing the accident or situation. Furthermore, the victim or the victim’s lawyer must show evidence of actual damages arising the from the case. The complainant must also demonstrate proximate causation. This means that the accident resulted as a direct consequence of the event caused by the defendant. Every person has the responsibility of using reasonable care and avoiding preventable injury to others. Such duty includes being reasonably mindful of dangerous situations and preventing these scenarios from happening. For example, if a person has consumed too much alcohol and decided to drive, this constitutes negligence. The reason is that the person should have prevented the scenario by not operating a motorized vehicle while intoxicated. The drunk driver, in the case, should know that he or she possesses a significant risk and should take reasonable care to avoid the risk.
Compensation can vary depending on the specifics of a case, but generally includes economic reparation for lost wages and future wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering. This latter category includes physical and mental pain where physical pain and suffering is the direct discomfort and bodily harm. Mental pain and suffering are a by-product and can include the emotional anguish and distress caused by the traumatic event. Extreme cases of emotional stress may constitute scenarios of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While most of the damages are visible and measurable, pain and suffering enter a realm of subjectivity given that these are not tangible. Therefore, many cases place a limit on the amount that a plaintiff can seek for this category of claim. Nevertheless, there are no specific guidelines for juries to calculate this type of injury and they must use good sense in figuring out how much compensation to award.