Negligence is always involved in personal injury cases, but there are different types of negligence. Each type of negligence contributes to who is liable and what degree of liability is involved. When you have a personal injury claim, it’s best to understand the basics of negligence and how it works.
What Exactly is Negligence?
Negligence is the failure to exercise the care of ordinary prudence that others would follow. Often, negligence is an overt action, but it can be an omission, too. For example, a duty to act is not completed. Negligence applies to all types of personal injury claims, including medical malpractice, defective product claims, slips and falls, car accidents and more. Different theories of negligence may be applied in cases. The theory of negligence applied in California is not the same theory of negligence that is applied in New York.
Different Types of Negligence
Comparative negligence: Even in the event that the injured party contributed to his or her own harm, the plaintiff can still recover damages. There are three types of comparative negligence-pure comparative negligence, modified comparative negligence 50 percent bar and modified comparative negligence 51 percent bar. In pure comparative negligence, the plaintiff can receive compensation for damages even if they were responsible for 99 percent of the incident. However, the award would be reduced in proportion to the degree that the plaintiff was at fault. In comparative negligence 50 percent bar, the plaintiff can recover damages as long as the plaintiff is considered under 50 percent to blame for the incident. In comparative negligence 51 percent bar, the plaintiff can be awarded compensation if she or he is less than 50 percent to blame for the incident. For example, if the plaintiff was found to be 10 percent at fault the award for compensation would be reduced from$100,000 to $90,000.
Contributory Negligence: Contributory negligence is the oldest theory of negligence. It’s also the most rigid. Under contributory negligence, if the plaintiff is found to be just 1 percent responsible for the accident, any recovery for damages is barred. The four states that follow contributory negligence are Washington DC, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia.
Combination of contributory and comparative negligence: In a car accident claim, the insurance company can deny the plaintiff’s claim altogether is the plaintiff contributed to the accident. Or, the insurance company may reduce the number of recoverable damages in proportion to the plaintiff’s fault.
Gross negligence: This type of negligence goes beyond failing to act with reasonable care. It occurs when the defendant’s actions were outright reckless to others. Gross negligence definitely affects the number of damages that are awarded.
Vicarious liability: Vicarious liability is when one party bears the conduct of another party. For example, an employer may be held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees and a parent may be held vicariously liable for their teenager’s actions.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
There are four components that must be proven in a personal injury claim-duty of care, breach of duty, proximate causation and incurred damages. And the four components must be proven in all personal injury cases. It doesn’t matter on the type of accident. It must be established that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. For example, the driver of a vehicle owes a duty of care to others and must obey all traffic laws when driving. If you’re the owner of a property, you owe a duty of care to those who come on your property.
It must be proven that the duty of care owed was breached by the defendant. This is a process in all claims. It must also be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty of care was the proximate cause of your injuries and the accident itself. Lastly, it must be proven that you incurred damages as a result of the accident. Damages can include bodily injury, medical expenses and loss of wages. Damages can be economic or non-economic.
The legal process is complex in a personal injury claim. It’s so important to have a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney representing your case. A knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney can craft a strong case for you for the best outcome. This legal professional has the skills and resources to fight on your behalf. They have medical experts, investigators and accident reconstruction experts on hand. Plus, this legal professional knows exactly how insurance companies work and has the know-how to negotiate with them. With a knowledgeable and seasoned attorney, you’ll get a much higher award than if you try to go it alone.
If you have a personal injury claim, turn to the legal experts at The Mann Law Firm. The Mann Law Firm has helped many clients during the toughest times of their lives. The attorneys at The Mann Law Firm understand how a serious injury or fatality can impact your life. When an injury is due to the negligence of another, you deserve to be compensated. And the Mann Law firm will aggressively assist you in getting an award that you deserve.