When you have been injured due to the negligence or intentional tort of another person, you must demonstrate who is at fault for the injuries if you want to recover compensation. This may be simple if the responsible party is obvious. Yet, some situations make it more complicated. You may need an attorney to help you with the preliminary investigation and understanding of the law and how it applies to your unique circumstances.
An attorney can establish negligence based on duty, breach of duty, a causal relationship to injuries, and damages sustained. After you establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to you and breached that duty, you have established negligence. Then, you must determine fault based on a causal relationship between the defendant’s negligence and your injury. Finally, you must establish the injuries and damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Intentional Conduct vs. Negligence
Intentional tort personal injury claims involve intentional conduct, rather than mere carelessness or recklessness. There may be no intent to injure, but the action that caused the injury was done on purpose. An example would be an assault and battery claim, where the at-fault party may not have specifically intended to break the victim’s nose, but did specifically intend to harm the victim. Because actions like this are also criminal acts, if guilt has been established in a criminal court, it will be that much easier to prove your case in civil court.
Identifying Strict Liability Claims
Some claims are identified as strict liability claims, which do not require that you prove negligence. Rather, you only have to prove that your injury was a foreseeable circumstance of the action of the at-fault party. For example, dog bite cases are strict liability claims in North Carolina.
Negligence Per Se Claims
In some situations, the at-fault party has engaged in a negligent action that violates a legal statute. In these claims, the negligence per se theory applies. You will not have to show that the at-fault party acted in an unreasonable way because the statute violation automatically assigns negligence to the at-fault party. Traffic laws and building code regulation claims are examples of cases where the negligence per se theory applies.