Greenbelt, MD Personal Injury Lawyer
Serious injuries can have a long-lasting impact on the victim’s life. In the immediate future, there will doubtless be emergency medical care followed by a hospital stay. In the longer term, you could be dealing with chronic pain and discomfort, lost range of motion or other use of the injured area, or, for the most grievous injuries, permanent live-in medical care.
Fortunately, our lawyers are here to help. We can prepare a strong argument, collect evidence, and take the fight to those who wronged you so that you can get the financial compensation you need to bounce back from an injury.
To start talking about your case for free, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s personal injury lawyers at (312) 578-8502.
How to Prove Someone Was Negligent in a Greenbelt, MD Personal Injury Lawsuit
A successful car accident lawsuit requires that you prove that the defendant was negligent. In law, negligence means that someone did something careless that caused your injuries.
In order to prove negligence, you must establish four “elements” in your case. The elements of negligence are duty, breach, causation, and injury.
You need to show that the defendant satisfies each and every one of these elements to recover damages from them. Conversely, the defense only has to cast enough doubt on one of these things being true in order for them to win.
Thus, a common defense strategy is to really focus on one of these elements and try and make the jury unsure if the defendant was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. Our personal injury lawyers know this, and we can work hard to give you the best chance possible at a successful outcome for your case.
In law, “duty” refers to certain responsibilities people have to one another. In some circumstances, people can have specific duties. For example, a “duty to protect” may compel a counselor to inform relevant authorities that a patient is going to imminently harm themselves or others. However, for most people, there is merely a general duty to try not to harm other people.
For example, supermarkets have a duty to keep their stores safe for customers so that they do not get hurt. If, say, there is a portion of the floor where there is a spillage, the store has a duty to first put a “wet floor” sign out or otherwise warn of the conditions and then clean up the spill in a timely manner.
When a defendant does not perform their duty, they are said to have “breached” it. Going back to our supermarket example, if the store did not put out a “wet floor” sign near the slippery area and then failed to clean it up, they likely breached their duty to keep the premises safe for their customers.
Causation means the defendant actually made your injuries happen. While this may seem like a straightforward thing to prove, causation is frequently a hotly contested issue in personal injury lawsuits.
You must prove that the defendant was both the actual and “proximate cause” of your injuries. A proximate cause is something related close enough to your injuries to create liability.
As an example, if a car has incorrectly installed brakes and a driver runs a red light in that car and hits and injures you, the proximate cause of your injuries would be the driver’s conduct, not the shoddy brakes.
Even though the brakes not working could have been “a” cause, it is cut off by the driver’s conduct. As a more extreme example, technically, the driver’s parents birthing them at some point in the past is a cause of your injuries, but that is obviously too removed from the accident to be actionable in court.
Proving injury is usually fairly straightforward. You must establish that you were, in fact, injured and suffered some kind of damages. This can be done through photo evidence, personal testimony, medical records, eyewitness accounts, and other evidence. Often, the defense will contest the extent of your injuries but not necessarily the fact that you got injured.
Damages in a Greenbelt, MD Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you win your lawsuit, the court will award you damages based on your injuries. There are a number of things that you can argue you are owed damages for, which we will go into below.
First and foremost, you can be awarded damages to compensate you for what you had to spend to deal with your injuries. For example, the defendant may have to reimburse you for your hospital bills as well as any other medical treatment you received. Additionally, they may have to pay you damages based on income you would have received had you not been injured because you missed work.
You can also get damages because of pain and suffering or “mental anguish.” Courts recognize that getting injured can hurt a plaintiff beyond immediately noticeable physical injuries.
For this reason, you can be compensated for the distress of going through the accident and recovery. This area of damage can also cover the inability to do activities you once enjoyed.
For example, if you were an avid baseball player but can no longer do that activity because of your injuries, the court can take that into account when determining damages. The same goes for the performance of everyday activities. Damages can be influenced by whether, for example, you need a live-in health aide to deal with your injuries.
Finally, courts can award a special type of damages called “punitive damages” if the defendant has acted especially badly. However, such awards are rare, and you should go over your situation with our lawyers if you want to ask for punitive damages.
Call Our Greenbelt, MD Personal Injury Lawyers Right Away
Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s personal injury lawyers can help with your case when you call (312) 578-8502.