Once negligence has been established in a personal injury case, the defendant must pay the plaintiff for all injuries caused by the defendant's actions. Certain types of damages are easy to calculate, such as property damage and medical bills. For other types, such as emotional distress and loss of earning capacity, expert testimony may be required. Punitive damages, meant to punish and deter particularly egregious conduct, may also be available.
Slip or trip and fall cases are some of the hardest cases to prove because generally there is little evidence for a victim to go on. The victim will not typically know for instance how long a hazard was present before he was injured. It is important to hire a slip and fall lawyer so that the lawyer can immediately begin investigating and request that the property owner preserve all evidence and start talking to witnesses, including employees.
Another common tort involves injuries caused by defective products. Liability in these cases can be imposed based on a theory that the manufacturer acted negligently by designing and selling an unsafe product. Or, if certain elements are met, plaintiffs hurt by a defective product may be able to sue under a strict liability theory. Either way, product liability cases have the potential to become large class action lawsuits, involving many plaintiffs and enormous money judgments.
In order to practice law as a personal injury lawyer, a bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctor Law degree is obligatory. In addition to passing the state’s bar exam, most states require the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE), and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). Some states require the Multistate Performance Test (MPT) as well.
Negligence involves the disregard for the safety of others by failure to act a reasonable person would. It could be that a dangerous situation was created by a pot hole, leaking ceiling or uneven surface. The key attribute in this assessment is whether or not a reasonable individual would have been able to identify the condition as dangerous or potentially hazardous and if the liable party had ample opportunities to improve the conditions prior to the occurrence of the injury. The alternative task to prove is whether the liable property owner specifically caused the dangerous situation themselves and that it was reasonably understandable that a person would suffer an injury due to the situation.
One of the most common defenses to a slip and fall accident is that the plaintiff was not exercising reasonable care. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, a plaintiff's recovery is reduced by his or her percentage of fault for the accident. For example, in the example above involving a grocery store slip and fall, if there was a yellow cone that said "warning" next to the spill, but you were distracted while looking up at a sale sign and slipped anyway, you may be found partially or wholly responsible for your fall. In a state that adheres to the doctrine of contributory negligence, even if a jury finds you only 1% at fault for not noticing the spill, you cannot recover anything.
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The compensation provided by an award of damages for wrongful death can help ease the financial burdens associated with the loss of a loved one. Compensation awarded is designed to cover the lost income, leftover bills, and funeral expenses survivors face because of the death of their family member. It is also designed to help compensate for less specifically quantifiable aspects of a wrongful death, such as the sudden and unnecessary loss of someone’s spouse or parent. For example, laws will generally refer to this as something like “lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance” for children who survive their parents.
If you have been injured in this way, first consider that it is a normal part of living for things to fall on or to drip onto a floor or the ground, and for smooth surfaces to become uneven. Also, some things put in the ground -- drainage grates, for example -- serve a useful purpose there. So a property owner (or occupier) cannot always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor. Nor is a property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that an ordinary person should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we're going.
Attorney Michael Sawaya and the legal team at The Sawaya Law Firm are committed to providing clients with excellent legal representation. Our effective advocacy on behalf of clients and the 12 core values on which our firm was founded 40 years ago have shaped our success and allowed the firm to grow to more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members. Many of our attorneys including our founding attorney have been listed among Colorado Super Lawyers®. The Sawaya Law Firm is a full service personal injury firm that focuses on helping people who have been injured through the carelessness or negligence of others. Our premises liability attorneys serve clients in Denver, Greeley and throughout Northeastern Colorado.
Comparative negligence is used in personal injury cases to determine what percentage of fault rests with the plaintiff and what percentage rests with the defendent. For example, the state of Georgia has what is called "Modified Comparative Negligence". This means that the amount of damages a plaintiff is awarded will be reduced by their percentage of fault for their accident. However, if the court determines that the plaintiff was at least 50% at fault for their accident, they are not eligible to receive any compensation.
They took into account thirty factors which it was thought might affect the death rate. Among these were included the annual consumption of wine, of spirits and of malt beverages—taken individually—the amount spent on road maintenance, the minimum temperature, certain of the legal measures such as the amount spent on police, the number of police per 100,000 inhabitants, the follow-up programme on dangerous drivers, the quality of driver testing, and so on. The thirty factors were finally reduced to six by eliminating those found to have small or negligible effect. The final six were:
Conditions such as poor lighting, limited visibility, lack of company policy enforcement and lack of reasonable justification are all factors that contribute to the determination of negligence in a slip and fall case. Plaintiffs are burdened with the responsibility of proving that the liable party could have take some other action to prevent the accident but failed to do so. They must also prove that even if there was a valid reason for the obstruction to be present, that the justification was not longer valid at the time of the accident occurred, and that no preventive measures were exercised in order to prevent the occurrence. While the burden of proof rests with the plaintiff, the facts of the case will present the affirmations or declarations necessary to determine the degree of negligence involved.
A personal injury claim seeks to make a plaintiff “whole” again after an injury caused by negligence. Once a plaintiff accepts a settlement or receives a case award, he or she is basically stating that the award makes him or her whole again. This means the defendant should not be liable for another claim for the same damages, and a “release of liability” generally puts this into writing.
Before accepting a new case, a personal injury lawyer will normally interview a prospective client and evaluate the client's case to determine the basic facts and potential legal claims that might be made, identify possible defendants, and evaluate the strength of the case. A lawyer may decline to accept a case if the lawyer believes that the legal claims will not succeed in court, if the cost of litigation is expected to exceed the amount that can reasonably be recovered from the defendants as compensation for the client's injury.