Understanding Negligence Claims

West Plains, MO Personal Injury Lawyer

When a person suffers an injury in an accident, it is required that he or she prove that negligence played a role in the accident in order to pursue financial compensation. Negligence, defined as the failure to exercise a reasonable amount of care or caution, is something that is used in all different types of personal injury cases. From car accidents to truck accidents to premises liability claims, a person must show that another person acted negligently, therefore causing them injury.

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With personal injury cases, if an insurance company knows that you have grounds for a claim, they will do everything they can to ensure that they do not have to pay out that claim. They will fight to ensure that you cannot prove negligence and may even dispose of evidence without your knowledge. Having a personal injury lawyer on your side is your best option of avoiding this. Whether you are trying to prove that a person acted negligently behind the wheel because they were drinking and driving or that a truck driver fell asleep at the wheel after negligently driving past the hours of operation limit, you need a legal professional on your side to help you do so.

The West Plains personal injury attorneys at our firm have over 60 years of combined experience and will never represent an insurance company because we believe that your rights are important.

The Elements of Your Negligence Case

Claiming negligence is no easy feat, especially in matters of the law. In order to successfully file a claim of this nature, you and your negligence lawyer will need to prove a number of things, the most important being that a duty was owed to you. The rest of your claim will center on this one very important aspect, so it is of the utmost importance that it can be proven that a duty was owed before any further legal action is taken. When it can be shown that a defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff (injured party), it will then be much easier to show the progression that ultimately resulted in personal injury.

After it has been established that a duty was indeed owed, the following will need to be proven as well:

  • The defendant failed to live up to that duty, whether through negligence or deliberate breach
  • The defendant's failure can be directly correlated with the cause of the plaintiff's injury
  • The plaintiff can legally prove that recognizable harm was caused to him / her as a result

At this time, proximate cause will also need to be taken into consideration. When assessing the scope of the injury / illness caused to a victim of negligence, proximate cause will take into account the possibility that the defendant does not hold full responsibility for the incident. This is not uncommon; in fact, in many cases of personal injury, the defendant can only be justifiably held responsible for a proximate number of those causes which ultimately led to a plaintiff's harm. Proximate cause makes allowances for actions and their results which could not have reasonably been foreseen. This means that any damages that were caused by a defendant who could not reasonably have predicted such results will be ruled as proximate causes of a plaintiff's ultimate damages.

What is comparative negligence?

Missouri is one of thirteen states that currently follow comparative negligence: a theory that allows individuals to sue another motor vehicle driver whether or not his / her own negligence factored into the accident that ultimately resulted in injury. This means that even a plaintiff who is partially responsible for his / her accident and subsequent injuries can take legal action against the other person or people involved.

When comparative negligence is brought to the attention of the legal system, the professionals involved will determine recovery for damages from the accident based upon the comparative roles of negligence that each responsible party played in the accident under consideration. This means that the damages owed by a defendant could be reduced according to the amount of fault that is attributed to the other parties involved in the accident.

Contact a West Plains personal injury lawyer for more information. No fees required unless we recover compensation.

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