Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Complexity of Personal Injury Claims (Part 1): Who is liable?

Personal injury claims have a reputation for being relatively straightforward.  This is because very often the circumstances leading to the actual injury may be commonplace, e.g. a dog bite, a slip and fall, or a one car traffic collision.  Even when the circumstances causing a personal injury are relatively unremarkable, the legal aspects of the case will likely involve significant complexity.

Using one car accidents as an example, I'll attempt to illustrate  the magnitude of the complexity.

A one car accident is an accident involving literally one automobile.  A case I recently handled involved an individual who crashed into a construction site, while she had a passenger in the car with her.  On the surface, one might think: "One car, one driver, one person at fault." Despite the apparently straightforward fact pattern, simply determining all liable parties can be a significant task.  Even in this case, potentially liable parties may include but are not limited to:

  • the driver,

  • the passenger (if passenger took negligent actions),

  • the owner of vehicle (if not the driver),

  • the employer of the driver,

  • the road contractor,

  • local municipalities, and

  • the automobile manufacturer.

A personal injury attorney will investigate the facts of a case, and will ensure that maximum justice is achieved. When results matter, it is important to hire someone who knows the angles.

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