In personal injury law, one of the earliest questions you'll have to answer before you file a claim is about who ought to be the defendant. This is the individual or organization that you're alleging was at fault for your injuries. It might seem like a simple question in many cases, but it can prove to be complex in others. Here are some concerns you should discuss with a personal injury lawyer before starting your claim.
Identifying the Proximate Cause
A valid claim almost always has to draw a direct line from a defendant's actions or inactions to the injuries the claimant or plaintiff suffered. The simplest version of this would be seeking coverage of medical bills because someone intentionally shoved you and your head ended up cracked. In that scenario, the goal would be to prove that the defendant was the one who shoved you by presenting witness testimony, video evidence, texts, phone call logs, and other items.
Employees, Designers, and Contractors
This gets a little more complex when the question of who was in charge at a location comes into play. For example, virtually no one ever sues the person who was mopping the floor at a store prior to a slip-and-fall accident. The janitor functions as an extension of the business, and that means the store ends up being the defendant in most cases.
You can get a little fuzzier when there are doubts about who was responsible for preventing injuries in a specific situation. Say you go to a doctor's office in a commercial plaza. If you're injured while passing through the doorway onto the sidewalk, is the doctor's practice responsible? It depends. You might have slipped on something on the sidewalk, possibly making the plaza's operator responsible.
Assignment of Liability
In some cases, several parties with overlapping business interests may enter into contracts where they assign liability to one of them. These contracts don't always hold up well in court, and some insurance carriers will balk at such an assignment if they weren't informed. For example, some construction contractors will enter into contracts where the property owners take on their liability. Sometimes a suit goes forward against the most obviously liable party, and then they will have to collect compensation under the contract once they pay out a claim or judgment.
Some professions and lifestyle choices require automatic acceptance of liability for anything that goes wrong. Almost every private citizen or entity that deals with explosives, chemicals, toxic substances, weapons, or non-domesticated animals is strictly liable for injuries caused by those things.
To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer.
When you are faced with a serious legal matter, it only makes sense to work with an attorney who has the skillset to help. Attorneys are specially trained to manage everything from courtroom appearances to issues with paperwork, which is why you should have one on hand for when you are faced with an emergency. The purpose of this blog is to make it easier to understand when you should call a lawyer and how they can help. Read more on this blog to sort out everything you need to know to improve your legal prowess every single day, preventing problems.