Regardless of where it takes place, an accident can result in serious injuries or – in the worst cases – even death. Unfortunately, a majority of accidents could be avoided if the proper procedures were followed and the proper precautions were set in place.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by another’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney at your side. The attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. have the passion and years of experience necessary to help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ll hold the right parties liable for causing your injuries and get you on the path towards recovery. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost consultation.
Negligence is defined as the failure to behave with the same level of care that someone of ordinary reasoning would have exercised under the same circumstances. In order to prove that negligence was the cause of their injuries, a plaintiff must be able to prove the following:
The Defendant had a Duty to the Plaintiff
The plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant owed them a legal duty of care before the circumstances of the accident. In other words, the defendant should have taken certain actions, and by not performing those actions, they caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
For example, a homeowner has the responsibility of ensuring that their home is safe for visitors and workers. If there is a broken board on the front porch of a home, it is up to the homeowner to get the board fixed.
The Defendant Breached their Duty to the Plaintiff
Once it has been established that the defendant had an established duty of care, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant violated that duty. The injured party must show that the defendant should have taken actions to prevent injury, should have known to take those actions, and did not take those actions.
For example, a homeowner knows they have a broken board on their porch but doesn’t get it fixed. When a visitor comes by, they fall through the broken board and get injured. The defendant, therefore, breached their duty of care to the visitor.
Causation: The Injuries were a Direct Result of the Defendant’s Actions
Causation is the determination of whether or not the accident – caused by the defendant’s breach of duty – resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries.
For example, as a result of falling through the porch, the plaintiff received several lacerations on their arms and a broken leg.
Causation is not always placed on the defendant, though. If there was a random act of nature or a freak accident, then the injury would be deemed unforeseeable. If this is the case, the defendant may no longer be held liable for the accident.
Once the plaintiff establishes that they were harmed due to the defendant’s negligence, the only thing left to prove is how much compensation is owed. Here are some of the damages that you may be eligible to claim compensation for:
- Loss of Income
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Property Damage
- Funeral Expenses
The personal injury attorneys at Branch & Dhillon can help you claim full compensation for damages that were a result of the negligence of another. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.
Common Defenses Against Claims of Negligence
Not all cases are cut and dry; sometimes, it can be difficult to prove that another person’s negligence caused your injuries. In some cases, the defense will try to shift the blame of injury elsewhere to avoid having to pay damages. These are the most common defenses against negligence claims:
Assumption of Risk
The defendant may try to argue that the plaintiff was aware of the risks of their action/activity but decided to move forward with it anyway. Assumption of risk can be seen in cases such as work accidents or in cases of contact sports. Compensation might not be awarded to the plaintiff if an action with assumed risk caused the accident.
For example, two people are playing a friendly game of tackle football with their friends. One of them tackles the other, which results in the tackled person getting a sprained ankle and a broken toe. The injured party tries to sue the other person for his medical expenses. In this case, the plaintiff may not win because the defendant can prove that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury before playing football.
Comparative negligence is the determination of the percentage of fault for an accident. There are different types of comparative negligence doctrines, and different states follow different ones. Here are the three types of comparative negligence:
- Slight-Gross Comparative Negligence – a plaintiff can recover damages only if they didn’t contribute to the accident or if they only slightly contributed to the accident which caused their injuries.
- Pure Comparative Negligence – a plaintiff can recover a percentage of damages equivalent to the percentage of fault for which the defendant is found guilty. This means that if the plaintiff sues and then is found 15% fault for the accident, they can still receive compensation for 85% of their damages.
- Modified Comparative Negligence – A plaintiff cannot receive compensation for damages if they are found to be 50% or more for the accident. If the plaintiff sues and is found to be 45% at fault for the accident, they can still receive compensation for 55% of their damages.
Texas and South Carolina are both modified comparative negligence states. In these states, it is crucial to have a strong personal injury attorney on your side because the defendant may try to prove that they are less than 50% at fault for the accident.
In states that follow the pure contributory negligence doctrine, the plaintiff can’t receive compensation for any damages or injuries if they are found to have contributed to the accident. Even if the plaintiff is only found to be 1% at fault for the accident, they cannot claim any compensation. Very few states follow the doctrine of pure contributory negligence anymore.
Release of Liability Waiver
If the plaintiff signed a liability waiver before engaging in an activity that resulted in an accident, then the defendant can argue that they are not liable for damages or injury. However, if there is any evidence of gross negligence, then the waiver may no longer be applicable.
It is important to keep in mind that a business’s liability waiver may not always be valid. Just writing up a document and having someone sign it may not always hold up in a court of law. The team at Branch & Dhillon can help you determine whether or not the Lease of Liability Waiver you signed has any standing in a court of law.
The defendant may try to prove that the plaintiff’s injuries were incurred before the accident. The plaintiff must be able to prove that the new injuries are unrelated to a previous accident and that the old injuries were not aggravated by the new accident.
Negligence vs. Gross Negligence
Regular negligence is the failure to take actions that could have prevented a person from getting injured. A restaurant’s failure to put up a “slippery when wet sign” after they have mopped the floor is an example of negligence. The fall could have been avoided if the plaintiff knew about the danger before they decided to walk across the floor.
Gross negligence is an act – or omission of action – that involved a large degree of risk. This means that the defendant’s behavior showed either a conscious indifference to the well-being/welfare of others or there was an intention to harm others. For example, if a dog owner lets their dog roam the neighborhood freely, they may be found to be grossly negligent if their dog bites someone.
Negligence in Personal Injury Cases
Negligence or gross negligence are elements in most personal injury cases. Here are a few examples of cases in which negligence is often a factor:
- Vehicle accidents
- Injuries on someone else’s premises
- Slip and fall accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Prescription drug errors
- Injuries caused by faulty products
- Food poisoning
Negligent Action Attorneys in Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact the personal injury attorneys at Branch & Dhillon, P.C. We will help you claim the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, mental anguish, and other damages after your accident. Our team serves the people of Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia. While you focus on your recovery, we will focus on getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.