Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
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Negligence can be defined as "the failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances," including any actions that have unintentionally caused another harm. Determining negligence hinges on the fact that the actions were done so without the intention of causing harm, but rather through carelessness or indirect recklessness. If harm is intentionally inflicted, it would become a criminal offense. In a civil case, like a personal injury lawsuit, each state follows a different standard for awarding damages. Louisiana follows a system of pure comparative negligence.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Pure comparative negligence means that in a trial, a jury will assign a percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and the subsequent damages will be awarded accordingly. For example, if the plaintiff was illegally crossing the street at the time that they were struck by a reckless driver, it will be decided what percentage of liability the injured victim had in causing the pedestrian accident.
Even if it is found that the victim was 95% responsible for their injuries, they may still be awarded 5% of the original damages. Negligence on the part of the defendant must still be established, however, as it must be shown that their actions also contributed to the resulting injuries.
Assumption of Risk
In order to determine negligence, it must be proven that the other party failed to uphold their duty of care. This means that they were in some way responsible for the safety of the individual that was injured. For example, a medical professional is responsible for providing adequate care to all of their patients, a property owner is responsible for maintaining the safety of their premises, and a driver is responsible for adhering to the rules of the road. In any case, if an individual neglects their duty of care, they may be held liable for any subsequent injuries. If the defendant can prove that the circumstances warranted an assumption of risk, however, they may be able to waive liability.
Assumption of risk refers to any situation where "the plaintiff has either expressly or implicitly relieved the defendant of the duty to mitigate or relieve the risk causing the injury." This may apply to any situation where a warning has been posted about the risk of injury or harm. For example, if a warning sign has been posted about the risk of falling debris upon entering a construction site and an individual is consequently struck by a falling object, they cannot pursue legal action. If you have been injured in an accident and you are unsure about whether or not you have a valid claim, you should not hesitate to speak to an experienced Shreveport personal injury attorney about the facts of your case.
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At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, we have legal experience in preparing and pursuing claims for damages. We understand that when you are injured or grieving over the loss of a loved one, you may not have attention on financial matters. We take into account all of your past and future losses and prepare your claim carefully.
A personal injury lawyer at our firm will take the burden of dealing. Contact us today.