If you are seeking compensation for a catastrophic injury, your first job is proving negligence. Different cases require different legal strategies, depending on who was responsible for your injury and what kind of negligence they exhibited.
A catastrophic injury lawyer can walk you through your options for pursuing compensation.
Establishing the Four Elements of Negligence
Any successful personal injury case must prove duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
- Duty of care: This means that whoever caused your accident had a responsibility to exercise reasonable care.
- Breach of duty: Once you establish a legal duty of care, you must show that the liable party breached that duty through negligent or reckless behavior.
- Causation: Now you have to connect the liable party’s negligence to your accident. In other words, the accident and your injuries would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence.
- Damages: You must establish you suffered losses because of the accident and injuries. This may include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and more.
Bear in mind that you have a limited time to begin your personal injury lawsuit. A typical example is California, where state law (CCP § 335.1) gives plaintiffs a two-year deadline in most situations.
Securing Witness Testimony for Your Personal Injury Claim
Your personal injury attorney will interview you about what you remember about the accident and may include this information in your case. But securing testimony from other witnesses could be essential to establishing the defendant’s liability or your damages.
- Subject matter experts: For instance, if you were in a car accident, your lawyer can ask an accident reconstruction specialist to research the crash and what caused it.
- Witness statements: This could include anyone who was with you at the time the accident happened or others who witnessed the accident. E.g., other drivers, bystanders, etc.
Finding Documentary Evidence of Negligence
Legal strategies for personal injury cases generally depend on compiling as much evidence as possible to establish legal liability. Therefore, in addition to speaking with anyone who might have valuable information about your case, your attorney will track down any available evidence, such as:
- The defendant’s records: This could include prior complaints against the defendant or, in cases where the defendant is a large organization, company records related to a product, driver, vehicle, or other issue related to your accident and injuries.
- Photos or video evidence: Cameras are everywhere nowadays. Anything from a few seconds of a cell phone recording to footage from a surveillance camera can shed light on how your injury happened and who is liable.
- Police reports: Did the police investigate your accident? They should have filed a report that details basic facts about the incident and their findings. This can help you prove negligence.
Proving the Catastrophic Injury Was Not Your Fault
Unfortunately, some insurance companies might try to reduce what they have to pay by blaming you for the accident. They might claim you displayed far greater negligence than the defendant or that the defendant’s negligence had nothing to do with the injuries you suffered.
When you hire the right personal injury attorney to represent you, one of the legal strategies they may suggest to prove negligence in catastrophic injury cases is to anticipate and counteract any claims of comparative negligence made against you. For instance:
- If there are gaps in the record, your legal team will work hard to find evidence to fill those gaps.
- If there are inconsistencies between different pieces of evidence, your attorney can find out why and account for those discrepancies.
- Your legal representative can pinpoint evidence that specifically addresses your actions before and during the incident.
- If the insurer’s objections relate to the amount of money you are asking for rather than matters of negligence, your personal injury lawyer can show them evidence pertaining to your case’s value, such as medical bills or evidence of lost wages.
Learn More About Legal Strategies and Catastrophic Injuries
When you have suffered a catastrophic injury, even completing day-to-day living tasks can be a real challenge. Trying to handle a negligence claim on your own only adds more stress to an already stressful situation.
Hiring a personal injury law firm can relieve you of this burden. They will manage the legal process, navigate negligence laws, and fight hard to protect your interests so you can concentrate on rebuilding your life.
When it comes to proving negligence in catastrophic injury cases, KJT Law Group has been devising personalized legal strategies to help people just like you since 2014. Call us at (818) 507-8525 to get started today. We offer free case reviews, and there are no attorney fees unless and until we win your case.