A personal injury can have serious repercussions on a victim's life and livelihood, resulting in debilitating medical conditions, ongoing health issues, and the inability to work or even just manage the tasks of daily living. Victims may seek the needed compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the party responsible for their injuries. For a claim to be successful, the following points must be proven.
How to Prove a Personal Injury Claim
1. Duty of Care
Everyone has an unspoken duty not to endanger others. People must practice due diligence and reasonable care toward one another, or a civil society could not function. When someone violates this duty and causes harm to another, the victim can seek compensation in a personal injury claim.
Car accidents are common examples of violations of duty, as all drivers have an obligation to operate their vehicles safely, responsibly, and in accordance with traffic laws.
2. Violation of Duty
A violation of duty establishes that the responsible party was negligent in practicing reasonable care. For example, if a driver speeds through a red light and hits you, causing serious injuries, they have not exercised a sufficient amount of caution in operating their vehicle.
3. Violation Caused the Injury
A successful claim must show causation, which is a clear line between the defendant's breach of duty and the plaintiff's injuries. However, if the plaintiff’s actions contributed, even minimally, to the accident, they may not be able to pursue charges depending on their state laws.
Virginia follows the rule of pure contributory negligence, which states that if a victim is even 1% at fault, they cannot recover damages. For example, if the plaintiff was distracted by their cell phone and did not see the defendant running the red light and coming toward them, they may not be able to pursue the case.
However, some cases may avert this rule. For instance, if a plaintiff can prove that the defendant’s intentional actions were the primary cause of the injury, then the defendant cannot use pure contributory negligence as their defense. Ultimately, the decision as to whether this rule comes into play is up to a judge or jury on a case by case basis.
4. Verifiable Damages
Finally, there must be verifiable damages to prove an injury claim. These typically include medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and general pain and suffering. The plaintiff will need to submit proof, such as medical records, prior paycheck stubs, and repair estimates.
If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim, contact Crandall & Katt, Attorneys at Law. Since 1979, they have been representing residents of Central and Southwest Virginia, providing legal counsel in a variety of injury cases, including auto accidents, wrongful deaths, and product liability claims. Call (540) 342-2000 or visit their website to schedule a free consultation.