What Must I Prove to Recover Compensation?
You’ve been in a car accident or suffered an injury in a slip-and-fall on someone else’s property. How do you go about getting compensation for unreimbursed medical expenses, lost wages and income, physical pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, or the inability to do the things that used to bring you satisfaction or joy?
Standard of Negligence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
As a practical matter most personal injury lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. Under the principles of negligence, to successfully recover compensation for a personal injury, you must demonstrate to the jury that:
- The defendant (person from whom you seek compensation) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances;
- That failure caused an accident or event; and
- You suffered actual losses as a consequence of the accident or event.
Breach of the Duty of Care
Under the concept of negligence, all persons in society have a duty, in all their actions, to act as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. The failure to do so, referred to as a “breach of the duty of care,” is the first element of a negligence claim.
The mere failure to act as a reasonable person, on its own, does not make someone liable for a personal injury. The injured person must prove that the breach of duty caused an event or accident. That requires showing (1) that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant had acted reasonably and (2) that the accident and injuries sustained were foreseeable consequences of the failure to act reasonably.
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit are intended to be compensatory, i.e., to compensate the victim for their financial losses. Accordingly, any losses covered by insurance cannot be recovered in a personal injury claim, as you have not lost anything.
Contact the Cintron Firm
At the Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing, and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.