Have you been injured in an incident that was caused by the actions of another party? If so, you know how complex the law can be when it comes to tort law. There are several different terms that you will need to become familiar with. This posting will cover 5 of these terms and make them easier to understand for you.
Negligence is when an individual or company accidentally causes injuries to someone else. If the actions were intentional, then it doesn’t constitute negligence. If an injury is caused by negligence, the victim might be able to get compensation by filing a lawsuit. There are four factors that must be true if a plaintiff is going to prove negligence.
These factors include:
- The duty of care: This is the idea that every individual or company is legally required to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of others.
- Breach: A breach happens when an individual or company does not fulfill their duty of care.
- Causation: The breach has to have caused the incident that injured you.
- Damages: The injuries sustained would have to result in actual damages. This includes medical care, pain, and suffering, income loss, etc.
All four of these factors must be present in order to prove negligence. If not, the lawsuit will not be successful.
If the court decides that the defendant is liable for the injuries of the plaintiff, they will award damages. Damages are money that is awarded to the plaintiff to compensate them for any loss that occurred as a result of the incident. Here are some examples of compensatory damages:
- Expenses related to medical care.
- Expenses related to property damage.
- Expenses related to loss of enjoyment.
- Expenses related to loss of income.
In some cases, a court may also decide to award punitive damages. While rare, they can be awarded in cases where the behavior of the defendant was especially reckless, or intentional. If someone is ordered to pay punitive damages, it means they acted in a way that clearly disregarded the safety of others. These types of damages are not intended to compensate the victim for any loss. They are awarded only to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a time limit on lawsuits that are imposed by state laws. If you suffer an injury because of negligence, you have a certain time period in which you can sue the offending party. Normally, if the statute of limitations expires, you will not be able to sue, although in some situations there may be exceptions.
Check with your state to find out how long the statute of limitations lasts. This way, you will know how much time you have to make your decision about whether or not to file a lawsuit.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against another person or business, you will probably have to give a deposition. This is a court proceeding where the opposing counsel will be able to ask you questions about the details of the incident.
The opposing counsel’s objectives will be to discredit your testimony, figure out whether or not to take the case to trial, or limit the number of damages their client will be required to pay. When you give a deposition, it is very important that you are as prepared as possible. You don’t want to give the opposing counsel any ammo to use against you.
Now that you have a better understanding of how things work with a personal injury case, you can decide whether or not to file suit. If you need help determining whether or not you have a case, the Morelli Law Firm can help. Contact us today!