In order to recover monetary damages in a personal injury case, the person responsible for the injury must have been negligent. Whether you were driving, riding a bicycle, or walking when the accident occurred, in addition to dealing with the physical injuries, you also may have to worry about the financial impact of lost wages and substantial medical bills. To help you resolve the legal issues involved in a personal injury case, it is important to contact an attorney who is experienced handling personal injury cases.
To show negligence in the aftermath of an accident, the victim must prove that the accused was negligent and that the accused caused the victim’s injury. In addition, the victim must not have been negligent. In a car collision, for example, local traffic laws will typically dictate if certain actions by a driver amounted to negligence. Far too many car accidents result from a driver operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is illegal in Washington state, and in every other jurisdiction, to drive while under the influence, and doing so would be negligent. Similarly, most states have statutes prohibiting driving while texting. If it is shown that a driver was texting at the time of the collision, then that driver was negligent. Other traffic violations that are evidence of negligence include exceeding the speed limit or failing to stop at a red light or stop sign. In the case of a traffic accident, the information contained in the police report may be critical in determining who was at fault for the accident and whether negligence was involved. Statements from those involved in the accident, as well as other witnesses will help the police and accident reconstruction personnel determine the cause of the collision.
If an injury or death was caused by negligence, the victim or the victim’s family may be able to recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, or both. Compensatory damages are awarded to a victim to compensate for financial losses suffered as a result of the accident and injury. Lost wages, medical expenses and property damages are losses that a compensatory award may cover. Compensatory damages also are awarded for non-financial damages such as pain and suffering .
In a personal injury civil lawsuit, the jury may also award the victim punitive damages. They are designed to punish the person who caused the accident because of his or her outrageous conduct that caused the accident. Punitive damages are awarded in addition to the amount of compensatory damages that awarded.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident where you sustained a serious injury or a family member died, you will be faced with many issues related to your medical care, medical expenses, lost wages and the devastation of the loss of a family member. It is, however, important to contact a lawyer who is experienced in handling personal injury cases in order to ensure that you receive compensation for these losses.
This guest post was contributed by the Mariano Morales Law, a Yakima, Washington firm with experience with personal injury cases.