When An Accident Victim Blames You Despite Their Own Negligence
You did it this time. Yes, you have hurt another person. Perhaps the injured party slipped and fell at your restaurant. Maybe they sustained injuries after a vehicular collision on the road. Or, you could be a physician who failed to make the correct diagnosis.
Regardless of the type of personal injury claim being filed against you, there is hope. The fact that one caused harm does not mean that the plaintiff will automatically receive a large payday. Instead, a personal injury defense attorney might be able to use a legal theory to protect you from losing big, if at all.
Comparative negligence is a theory that you will want to discuss with your legal advisor if facing a lawsuit in which the facts are against you, but you know the other party played a role in causing the accident.
Elements of a Tort Claim
To successfully win a personal injury suit, or tort claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate the presence of the following elements.
- Duty-that the defendant had a responsibility to protect the plaintiff
- Breach of Duty-that the defendant failed in this duty to protect the plaintiff
- Cause-that the defendant's actions were the cause of the accident
- Damages-that the plaintiff suffered demonstrably because of all the above elements
Comparative Negligence as a Full or Partial Defense
Things might look bleak for you as a defendant when all the elements to establish a tort are present. Yet, as a personal injury lawyer will explain, during consultation, everyone has a duty to protect themselves. This fact means that the plaintiff can be held liable for all or some of what occurred if they contributed to the accident.
It is imperative that defendants always recall as much of what happened as possible. The defense attorney will need this information to ascertain to what degree the victim played a role their own demise. This comparative negligence can reduce the amount of compensation the judge or jury will award them in the lawsuit.
Examples of Comparative Negligence
- Slip and Fall-Despite warning signs of a wet floor, the victim ran in a restaurant and slipped
- Auto Accident-A car stops suddenly, with a broken taillight, resulting in a rear-end collision
- Medical Malpractice-the patient repeatedly lied about their health history
Get Help When Accused of Causing Harm to Another
Since all jurisdictions handle comparative negligence claims differently, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney proficient in handling these types of cases. The Internet is a good place to begin the search for legal counsel who can protect you against a lawsuit when the victim's own negligence helped precipitate the accident. Visit True Guarnieri Ayer LLP if you need a personal injury lawyer for your case.