When someone sustains a serious personal injury, negligent behavior is often the cause. Sometimes the individual that is injured is at fault, but sometimes it is another’s negligence that causes you harm. The acts that cause injury can be accidental or intentional. If you were injured due to another’s negligence, you deserve compensation for damages the other person caused you to suffer. To better understand your particular case and what your options are, please contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek.
Elements of the Claim
The elements of a personal injury claim are: duty of care; failure to exercise reasonable care (negligence); causation; and the presence of damages. It can be easy to focus on the act that led to an injury. But, in order to understand what would be considered negligence, one must first consider the duty of care owed at the time. Then, one can assess the subsequent breach of that duty that caused the injuries.
Duty of care refers to the responsibility one person must take on to avoid causing harm to another. Different situations or relationships warrant different duties of care. For example, manufacturers or distributors owe a certain duty to their customers, and those who design a defective product that poses unexpected hazards have breached that duty. But the cashier who sold you the product does not owe you the same duty.
However, if you are going to the store to buy a product, and the store has an entryway where melting snow is common during the winter, the operator of the store has a duty to take care of the entryway in order to ensure that members of the public aren’t at heightened risk of injury. The manufacturer of the product you intended to buy would not owe you a duty in a slip and fall case. In cases of vehicular accidents, drivers are expected to follow the rules of the road. If one party is speeding and swerving because they’re trying to show off their new car, and then cause an accident and injuries to another person, they will have breached the duty owed to other drivers.
Even if a party is injured and there is a breach of duty, you still must prove causation. Legally speaking, there are two types of legal “causes.” One is “cause in fact.” The second is referred to as “proximate cause.” Both must be proven by a plaintiff in a personal injury action. Cause in fact is often easy, defined as the “but for” cause, but proximate cause is more difficult. Proximate cause is based upon whether an injury could have been reasonably predicted, or foreseen, from the alleged act. Let’s look at two scenarios, using the vehicular example from the previous paragraph:
Driver A is approaching a red light, because he is speeding he is unable to stop in time and hits Driver B’s car, causing Driver B a neck injury. It’s easy to prove that the injury would not have happened if Driver A did not speed, the injury would not have happened but for Driver A’s actions. In this scenario, proximate cause is easy too, if you’re speeding, it is foreseeable that you wouldn’t be able to stop at the same rate a law abiding driver would.
Driver A is approaching a red light, and is unable to stop in time and hits Driver B’s car, causing Driver B a neck injury. An investigation reveals that Driver A was going slightly over the speed limit, but then his throttle system malfunctioned, causing him to accelerate instead of braking. Again, it’s easy to prove that the injury would not have happened if Driver A did not collide into Driver B. But in this scenario, even though Driver A was speeding, the proximate cause of Driver B’s injuries was the defective car parts. Driver A could still have a case, but it would be against the car part manufacturer, not Driver B.
These scenarios illustrate the difficulties that can arise in what seems like a simple case. In either scenario, the injured driver can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering due to the negligent driver causing the neck injury. But it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you are suing the right party for the right reasons, and you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek, LLC Today
Have you experienced a personal injury? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. Call The Law Offices of Cardaro & Peek, LLC today.
The lawyers at Cardaro & Peek, LLC have the experience and resources necessary to investigate and litigate all types of medical claims throughout Maryland and Washington D.C. Cardaro & Peek, LLC has medical personnel on staff and has access to nationally recognized, board-certified physicians and other experts, to assist in the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of all types of medical malpractice claims. If you or a loved one have experienced malpractice, give us a call at 410-752-6166. Please visit our website www.cardarolaw.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more information.