The Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

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by Rachel Holt, Esq.

How to Prove That Someone Else’s Actions Caused Your Injuries

Each year, Americans incur $34 billion in medical bills and other damages related to slip-and-fall accidents. Although you may be entitled to reimbursement for these costs in your case, it could take months or years before you receive a financial award from the party responsible for your accident. Furthermore, you may receive less than what you need to rebuild your life if you can’t prove that property owner negligence was the cause of your injuries.

What Are the Elements of Negligence?

To prove that property owner negligence caused your injuries, you will need to show that they knew about a dangerous condition on the property. Furthermore, you’ll need to establish that the problem wasn’t fixed in a timely manner despite the property owner knowing that it existed. You will also need to prove that you weren’t trespassing at the time of an accident, that you didn’t take actions to contribute to the accident, and that you incurred a financial loss as a result of the incident.

Property Owners Can Take Steps to Minimize Their Liability

If a property owner puts up a sign warning you of a hazard in their store, home, or another type of space, it may absolve them of liability in your case. This is because it is up to you to heed the warning and take reasonable steps to avoid whatever hazard you have been told about.

In addition, if the defendant had taken steps to remedy a hazardous condition, it may be enough to obtain a favorable outcome. For instance, if the defendant had an employee mop a wet floor once an hour, it could be enough to sway a judge or jury to believe that an effort had been made to remedy a potential hazard. Your personal injury attorney may be able to explain how taking such an action may impact your ability to obtain a financial award from the defendant.

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Did You Do Anything to Contribute to the Accident?

You have a duty of care to protect yourself from harm while on someone else’s property. If you did anything that could have contributed to an accident that resulted in injuries, it may play a role in determining the size of your financial award. For example, if you were on your phone when you slipped on a wet floor, that may be seen as violating your duty of care to protect yourself.

The same might be true if you were listening to music, were impaired, or were otherwise not paying attention to your surroundings when you slipped. Finally, if you were running or wearing inadequate footwear when you fell, that will also likely be used against you during settlement talks or during a trial.

Under New Jersey law, you are allowed to collect damages assuming that you are no more than 50% responsible for your injuries. Your personal injury attorney may take a variety of steps to minimize your perceived liability and increase the odds that you get a favorable outcome in the matter.

When to Contact a Lawyer

It’s important to note that you generally have two years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to do so, you generally lose the ability to take your case to court. It’s a good idea to meet with a lawyer as soon as you are able to after an accident.

If you are looking for a personal injury attorney to represent your interests, you may want to contact the professionals at RAM Law. You can reach us at our New Brunswick, New Jersey, location by calling (732) 247-3600, and we can also meet with you at our Somerville or Freehold location.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us online or call our offices, in New Brunswick at (732) 247-3600, in Somerville at (908) 448-2560, or in Freehold at (732) 828-2234.

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