Sued For Personal Injury
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
A personal injury claim against you asserts that:
- you had a duty of care toward the plaintiff
- you breached that duty
- the breach caused the plaintiff injury
To defend a personal injury claim, you will try to show that:
- you had no duty of care
- there was no breach
- there was no injury, or if there was injury, that the injury was not caused by a breach of duty
For example, perhaps you own a house which sits adjacent to a public pathway, and a tree from your yard grew into the pathway causing a bicyclist to crash and sustain bodily injury. If the bicyclist tries to sue you they will have to show that:
- you have a duty to keep your tree out of the pathway
- you breached that duty by letting your tree grow into the pathway
- the breach of duty caused bicyclist to sustain injury
To defend yourself in the scenario above, you would try to show that:
- you had not duty to keep your tree off of the path
- that not trimming was not a breach of duty
- that if the bicyclist was injured, that he was not injured as a result of a breach of duty to keep the tree trimmed off the path
Who Else Is at Fault?
You should also consider the possibility that the plaintiff or a third party may also be liable for the damage. Even if you are partially at fault, it will be important to identify who else was at fault so that the liability can be properly proportioned. For example, in the scenario above, even if it was your duty to keep your tree off of the path, the bicyclist might be partially at fault if he was talking on his cell phone and not paying attention to where he was going, or a third person might be partially at fault if their dog ran in front the bicyclist causing him to run into your overgrown tree. In either case, your liability would be reduced by the liability of others.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
Defending a personal injury claim is a serious and complicated undertaking as personal injury law covers a broad range of situations and it varies widely from state to state. A personal injury lawyer will understand the law that applies to your situation, and will use his or her experience to represent your interests and protect you against a costly judgment against you.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 03-22-2012 03:18 PM PDT