For a personal injury lawyer looking at a case, much of the issue hinges on the concept of liability. However, liability can operate very differently for each case. For example, a dog bite lawyer might have grounds to press a claim based on strict liability, but a motorcycle accident attorney may not.
Given how liability may work in differing circumstances, it benefits the clients of a personal injury law firm to understand why this is. Consider how liability may factor differently in your case.
Negligence, Gross Negligence, and Strict Liability
These are the three basic forms of liability. Negligence covers things that people think of as accidents. For example, a personal injury lawyer might take on a case involving someone who tripped on a piece of carpet that was sticking up in a hotel lobby. Nobody at the hotel meant for the victim to get hurt, but someone likely didn't do the necessary maintenance work.
Gross negligence covers knowing actions where someone was or should have been aware of any expected hazards. A truck accident attorney might accuse a company of failing to conduct brake system checks on their vehicles.
Strict liability is different than these two. It covers actions the law automatically considers dangerous. Plenty of professionally licensed work that includes chemicals, for example, is subject to strict liability. Depending on the state you live in, a dog bite lawyer may pursue a case based on this logic. When someone is strictly liable, all that matters is whether they did whatever led to your injuries.
Negligence Per Se
When someone breaks the law in an injurious incident, a court may interpret that as negligence per se. This means the court assumes, based on the illegal conduct, that negligence occurred. For example, a landlord might have violated building codes in installing a rail that failed during an accident. A finding of negligence per se makes it easier to prove a defendant was at fault.
Why Does This Matter?
There are two key reasons why this matters. First, you will likely have an easier time pursuing a claim of strict liability versus either of the other two kinds of negligence.
Second, negligence claims are paid in percentages based on the victim's contribution, if any, to what happened. If you were engaged in slightly reckless behavior that contributed to your injuries, you might recover only part of the damages. Also, there's a possibility that you might recover nothing if you were predominantly at fault. In other words, your claim might fail or you might get less money if successful.
Contact a personal injury lawyer for more information.Share