Do I Have Grounds to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Defining Negligence & Liability
Many times, a wrongfully injured victim will be left unsure of whether or not they have valid grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim from the other party, as the circumstances of an accident are rarely ever black and white. For this reason, it is vitally important to understand the bounds of negligent behavior, as well as how to determine liability, if you believe that your injuries were caused by the reckless or careless actions of someone else. As such, negligence can be generally defined as any "conduct that falls below the standards of behavior established by law for the protection of others"—meaning that in order to prove that another person's actions have contributed to your injuries, you must show that they have engaged in behavior that has violated a certain duty of care. Depending on the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant, however, determining liability will handled in one of several different ways.
For example, if the victim was a patient at the time that they were injured and/or made ill by the negligent decisions of an attending doctor, they must show that the medical professional has somehow violated their duty to provide a standard level of care. If, however, the victim was involved in a car accident they must be able to prove that the other driver had failed to adhere to the rules of the road—which could include driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, using an electronic device at the time of the accident, engaging in distracted driving practices and/or driving at a reckless speed. Determining who is liable for causing an injury is essentially just dependent on the specific nature of the case, as a variety of contributing factors must also be taken into consideration. Similarly, the victim must address the question of whether or not they were partially at fault for causing their own injuries, as well.
Pure Comparative Negligence Laws in Missouri
Each state in the U.S. follows different negligence laws, using a system of either comparative negligence, contributory negligence or a combination of both. In the state of Missouri, compensation is awarded in a personal injury case based on a system known as pure comparative negligence. What this means is that even if a plaintiff was partially at fault for causing their own injuries, they can still recover a percentage of the original amount of compensation—the subsequent total would simply be diminished by the percentage that a jury finds them to be at fault. Since it is a "pure" and not "modified" form of comparative negligence, this also means that a victim can recover compensation even if it is decided that they are mostly at fault. For example, if a jury decides that the plaintiff is 70% responsible for causing their own harm, they will still be awarded 30% of the original amount of damages.
Determining Liability in Your Case - Let a Kansas City Injury Lawyer Help
If you are unsure of whether or not someone else should be held accountable for the injuries that you have sustained, it is crucial that you consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. By explaining the circumstances of the accident that have led to your injury with a legal professional from the Sumner Law Group, LLC, liability can be more accurately determined. Each case is unique, so it is important that yours is treated as such. To further explore your legal options and figure out the most practical way in which to move forward with your case, you should not hesitate to fill out a
free case evaluation form online and submit it to a Kansas City personal injury attorney at our firm. Similarly, you can call our office directly to speak to a legal professional first-hand.