Determining Liability in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Who is accountable?

In order to seek justice after an accident or injury, it will be necessary to determine what party or parties can be held liable. Liability in a personal injury claim generally applies to an individual or business entity that can be held accountable for causing or contributing to the injuries that the victim experienced. If more than one party can be held liable, two separate claims may need to be filed.

One of the main issues that a personal injury attorney will need to address when handling a claim or lawsuit will be determining – and then proving – liability. There are different ways to look at liability in a personal injury case in order to determine who should be held accountable:

  • The liable party may have acted directly and intentionally to cause injury, as in a situation where a victim was attacked or assaulted.
  • The act may have been indirect or may be attributed to negligence. For example, the driver of a large truck may be held liable for causing an auto accident if he or she was texting while driving and struck another vehicle, causing injury to another driver or passenger. The fact that the act was unintentional does not reduce or negate liability. Even a failure to act, when this contributes to an accident or injury, may be enough to hold an individual or company accountable.
  • The defendant (party against whom a personal injury lawsuit is filed) may be held strictly liable, which means that they can be held legally accountable regardless of their particular intentions or negligence. This generally applies in cases involving defective products and, in some states, dog bites.

Proving liability is an entirely different matter and may require the involvement of expert witnesses and investigators who can act to investigate the incident and provide evidence that will enable a lawyer to build a compelling, intelligent case against the responsible party.

Find a personal injury attorneyin your area to learn more about liability in these claims.