When a person is injured due to the negligence of someone else, the Georgia legal system is set up to allow the injured party to get compensation. But whether an injured person does in fact, get compensation–and whether that compensation is appropriate–will likely depend on how well their personal injury case is developed, negotiated, and presented. Successful outcomes in a Georgia personal injury lawsuit depend on methodical, step-by-step work from a good Duluth personal injury attorney.
HOW WE WIN PERSONAL INJURY CASES
Winning a personal injury case requires proving negligence. There are four specific components of negligence, as it is defined under the law. All four components must be established. If even one is missing, the case falls apart. Below is what your lawyer must establish:
The basic prerequisite is that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. There are some cases where this is self-evident. In car accident cases, anyone who takes a vehicle onto the public road owes a duty of care to those around them. The same applies to bicycles, motorcycles, and trucks.
Other cases though, might have some gray area. To what extent does a property owner owe a duty of care to others? That will depend on the circumstances of each individual case. The plaintiff and their attorney must demonstrate that duty exists under the law, or there is no basis for a personal injury case.
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Presuming that duty is established, it must then be shown that the defendant breached that duty. The simple fact the plaintiff is injured does not, in of itself, demonstrate breach. Sometimes bad things happen because of bad luck. To put responsibility on the defendant–or, more precisely, their insurance company–will require showing the defendant failed to act with reasonable care.
Did the driver in a car accident do everything they reasonably could to avoid being in an accident? Did the business owner take reasonable steps to clean up a mess in the aisle before someone slipped? Breach can be a very contested area in a personal injury case, with differences of perspective in whether reasonable care was taken. A Duluth personal injury lawyer can work with their client on the important details of the case, from witness testimony to police reports and more.
Even if it’s established that the defendant breached a duty of care, the personal injury case is still only halfway to the finish line. The next step is to demonstrate that the breach was the cause of the injuries.
A plaintiff might wonder how the breach could not be responsible for their injuries. It all depends on the case, but insurance companies will almost certainly subpoena medical records, looking for preexisting conditions that the injuries could be at least partially attributed to. Efforts might be made to show that the accident would have still occurred, even if the defendant had acted with reasonable care.
There are cases where causation will be obvious, but others where it won’t be – and the diligence of a lawyer might be the difference in how a case is resolved.
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The last step of negligence is demonstrated that all of the above–a breach of duty that caused injury did, in fact, result in real damages to the plaintiff. A defendant that walks away from an accident with no harm done hasn’t been damaged.
The need to prove this last aspect of negligence is why personal injury lawyers advise strongly against saying anything to anyone after an injury. It might be human nature to reassure someone after an accident that you are okay. But the injuries might start to take their toll after the fact, and previous statements might be used to undercut the claim of damages .
It’s also imperative to establish the full scope of damages. Basic medical expenses for treatment might be easy to establish. Lost wages from missed time at work can be documented. But what if the road to rehabilitation will be a long one? In serious injury cases, is there going to be a need to revamp a home to allow for wheelchair access? Is the road to recovery going to hinder one from growing in their career, adding up to lost future earnings potential? Is there psychological damage, ranging from PTSD to depression. Richard Parsons Lawyer
All of the above and more has to be asked by a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer if a fair settlement amount is to be reached.