A Guide to Establishing Fault in a Catastrophic Injury Case

It is no secret that catastrophic injuries cause life-altering damage that impacts all aspects of the victim’s life. The victim will be unable to live the way they used to. 

There are different ways to determine the seriousness of an injury. Usually, it involves any and, in some cases, all of these: 

  • Loss of life quality 
  • Loss of individual independence 
  • Loss of or diminished work ability 
  • Extensive medical rehabilitation and care 
  • Continuous medical and supportive services  
  • Reduced motion range and mobility 
  • Reduced sensation or chronic pain 
  • Vehicle or home modifications, or/and the need for assistive devices 
  • Psychological effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression 
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

To establish fault in a catastrophic injury case, the victim and their lawyer must establish that the liable party acted carelessly. To do this, certain rules must be followed. We’ll examine these rules to help you determine who is at fault and who needs to compensate you for the injury you suffered. 

Catastrophic injuries occur when an individual or group of people are careless. The law refers to this as negligence. Articles like this one are a great source to learn more about negligence. 

The simple rule that determines the party at fault explains that whoever was careless enough to cause an accident is the liable party and must pay at least part of the damages the victim suffered. 

In other words, if the victims was more careful, even though they have their shortcomings, they’d still get compensated for their injuries. Despite this, the following rules of negligence that determine legal liability must be considered: 

Trespassing and Assumption of Risk 

This is applicable in cases where the victim was trespassing—in other words, they went to a place they ought not to be or a place where such injuries are likely to occur—this is referred to as an assumption of risk according to law. In such a case, the offender might walk away without being liable for the injury. The interpretation of the law in this case affirms that the offender had no responsibility to act carefully in such a location and can’t be held responsible for what happens to the victim. 

Comparative Negligence 

Remember when we said that the less careful person ends up being the liable party? Yet, in most U.S. states, if it’s discovered that the victim was careless, regardless of the degree of carelessness, their compensation is slashed to the percentage reflecting their carelessness. 

Employer Liability Due to Employee Negligence  

When a worker injures a person while carrying out a job-related duty, the employer might be held liable. This rule in legal circles is known as “respondeat superior,” which means “let the superior answer.” You can read this piece to learn more about this rule. In some cases, the entire liability might be on the employer, while in other cases, the liability is shared. 

Dangerous Property Conditions 

When a person suffers a catastrophic injury while on a property with dangerous conditions, the property owner is, in most cases, the liable party. This doesn’t even consider whether or not they are directly responsible for creating such a condition. It is generally assumed that they should maintain the condition of their property. Failure to do so is considered negligence according to law. 

Defective Product Liability     

If someone suffers a catastrophic injury by using a defective product, the seller and the product manufacturer are the liable parties. This applies even when the victim is not sure which of them was negligent in causing the defect. The legal name for this claim is a product liability claim. 

In the case where several people are liable, you can get compensation from one or all of them. That means you have the right to choose who you get compensation from. 

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