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Accident & Injury Law

Accidents happen. We hear it all the time, and usually chalk it up to bad luck or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But sometimes an accident and a resulting injury are somebody’s fault. And if someone else is at fault for your injuries, shouldn’t they have to pay if you have doctors’ bills, missed income, or even worse? There's a large and often complicated area of law that covers accidents, the injuries they cause, and determining who, if anyone, is at fault. FindLaw’s Accident & Injury Law section has articles covering every step of the legal process surrounding injuries and the laws that cover them.

In this section you will find in-depth information on legal concepts and issues that apply to almost all accident and injury cases, including theories of legal liability in injury cases, time limits for bringing a case, rules of economic recovery, and more. From what you should do immediately after an injury to how to protect a claim settlement, you can find the resources you need below.

Determining Liability

Whether it's a fender bender in an intersection or a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, if someone is hurt in an accident, someone else is usually at fault. And depending on the sequence of events, it is easier to determine that fault for some accidents than for others. Over time, courts and legislatures have created tests for deciding legal liability, and how far and to whom it may extend.

Negligence

A lawsuit attempting to prove liability for an accident is known as a negligence claim, filed by the injured party, the plaintiff, against the party thought to be at fault, the defendant. In order for a negligence claim to be successful, the plaintiff must prove each of five elements:

  • Duty: the defendant owed to a duty of care;
  • Breach of Duty: the defendant failed to meet that duty of care;
  • Cause in Fact: but for the defendant’s failure, the plaintiff would not have been injured;
  • Proximate Cause: the defendant’s failure (and not something else) caused the plaintiff’s injury; and
  • Damages: the plaintiff has actually been injured and suffered some loss.

The law surrounding these elements can be complicated and the facts may be difficult to prov. Therefore, the success or failure of a negligence claim will depend on the specific circumstances of the case.

Recovery for Damages

If a negligence claim is successful, the plaintiff will usually be entitled to some amount of damages to compensate for his or her injuries. The exact amount of damages for the most part depends on the losses suffered by the plaintiff, and can include medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement or repair of property. As with the success of a negligence claim, damages amounts can vary, subject to the facts of the case and the applicable law in the jurisdiction in which the claim is brought.

Personal Injury Lawyers

As you can see, navigating the legal procedures in an accident and injury case can be difficult. An experienced negligence attorney can provide more information and guidance regarding the legal requirements and ramifications involved.