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If you have suffered an injury that was someone else’s fault, the type of claim you can pursue will depend on the facts of your case.
Determining the appropriate type of claim is important because each has its own standard of proof. The following are the three main categories of personal injury claims.
A negligence claim is the most common type of personal injury case. An individual is considered negligent when they fail to act with at least the same degree of responsibility that an ordinary person would reasonably use in a similar situation.
To be liable for negligence, a party must breach a duty of care owed to you, thereby causing you damages. One example would be if a careless or intoxicated driver caused a wreck that injured you; another would be if a doctor injured you by performing a procedure in a manner inconsistent with the standard established for physicians handling that task.
The extent of a defendant’s duty to you varies based on the circumstances. For example, a doctor may be held to a professional standard of care while operating on you but only an ordinary standard of care if they caused a car accident.
Companies can sometimes protect themselves against negligence by disclaiming liability. For instance, a company may have you sign a waiver of liability prior to doing business with them. Even a waiver of liability, however, is unlikely to immunize a company against gross negligence, which is a particularly extreme form of negligence.
Gross negligence falls into a gray area between ordinary carelessness and intentional actions. It involves reckless conduct where the offender is aware of an extreme risk of harm but proceeds with the reckless conduct nonetheless. For example, a driver likely commits gross negligence by driving while intoxicated. Depending on the circumstances, a court may award higher damages for proving gross negligence, which is why it is classified as a separate fault category.
An intentional tort is a willful act that caused you injury. An example would be someone who assaults you during a mugging, resulting in you being harmed. An intentional tort is normally both a crime and a tort, but the standard of proof is lower for a civil lawsuit than for criminal prosecution. Therefore, even if the defendant is acquitted of the crime, you may be able to successfully pursue a civil case against them.
In a strict liability lawsuit, you can win without proving that the defendant was careless, reckless, or acting in an intentional manner. In many states, strict liability applies when you are injured by a defective product. To win against a manufacturer or seller, you must show that:
- The product had a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect, such as inadequate warnings;
- The product reached you without a significant change in its condition;
- The product was “unreasonably dangerous”; and
- The defect actually caused your injury.
Once these elements have been established, you may be awarded damages under strict liability.
Zinda Law Group Represents Personal Injury Victims
At Zinda Law Group, our skilled team of attorneys has helped many personal injury victims seek the compensation they deserve. We bring extensive knowledge, experience, and resources to each case we handle, and we never settle for anything less than the best. If you or a loved one has been injured, call us immediately at 800-863-5312 for a free consultation. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.