The knowledge that accidents can happen to anyone by no fault of their own is often cold comfort when dealing with serious injuries in the wake of an incident caused by someone else’s recklessness or carelessness. Fortunately, state civil law allows you to hold negligent parties liable for harm they cause you to suffer, but the process of actually pursuing and receiving civil compensation can be long, complicated, and immensely frustrating.
One of the best ways to simplify civil litigation and improve your odds of a positive outcome is to work with an experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer. Once retained, a seasoned attorney could work on your behalf to take stock of all your recoverable damages, construct a comprehensive case proving liability by the defendant, and navigate around legal obstacles that might restrict your right to recovery.
Whether a personal injury stems from a car crash, an act of medical negligence, or even a trip and fall, legal negligence generally forms the backbone of any ensuing civil claim. In a nutshell, negligence is the legal principle that allows someone to be held financially liable for accidents—in other words, even if someone did not mean to intentionally harm anyone, they can still be accountable for damages they cause by acting recklessly or carelessly.
There are four elements of legal negligence that you and your personal injury attorney must prove in order to hold a civil defendant responsible for your injuries and losses. The first step—proving the existence of a duty of care—is often the easiest one, since most people have an assumed responsibility to behave reasonably around others to preserve their safety and wellbeing. That being said, cases based on product or premises liability can be more complicated in this way, as can cases involving professional negligence of any kind.
Next, you must show that the defendant violated the specific duty of care they owed to you by acting irresponsibly or by violating the law. You must then show this breach of duty proximately—or directly—resulted in an accident. Finally, you must demonstrate that the compensable losses you are seeking recovery for stemmed directly from the accident caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
Unfortunately, there are many ways that proving negligence and recovering civil compensation can become complicated along the way. For example, Official Code of Georgia §51-12-33 prohibits accident victims found 50 percent or more at fault for their injuries from filing suit, and furthermore allows courts to proportionately reduce a plaintiff’s damage award if that plaintiff bears a lower percentage of fault. Accordingly, it is common for defendants to accuse plaintiffs of negligence themselves in order to mitigate their own potential liability.
Additionally, O.C.G.A. §9-3-33 sets a filing deadline of two years after the date an accident occurs for most personal injury claims, with only a few exceptions under special circumstances. Failure to retain a personal injury lawyer in Marietta quickly after an accident can often lead to a potential plaintiff missing this deadline and losing their right to seek civil recovery as a result.
No two personal injury claims are exactly alike, and there is no singular strategy that suits every case or even a particular category of cases. However, one factor that generally is constant in civil litigation is the importance of seeking guidance from a legal professional before trying to file suit by yourself.
A knowledgeable Marietta personal injury lawyer could serve as your steadfast ally from start to finish of your case, whether it ends with a private settlement or a date in civil court. To find out more about the possibilities available to you, call today and schedule a consultation.