If you have suffered an injury that is the fault of another person, you likely want to recover damages to pay your medical bills and make up for lost time from work. Unfortunately, proving negligence is not always easy. Even if you know that another individual or organization was at fault for your accident, legally there are a number or hurdles that must be overcome to receive a settlement that will help to make you whole again. The difficulty of proving negligence in personal injury cases is one of the key reasons that it is so important to have professional legal representation as your case moves forward.
What Is Negligence?
The difficulty begins in legally defining the term negligence. While it may seem clear that your injury was the direct result of negligence, there are strict legal requirements that must be met for your case to be successful. Two of the key elements of negligence are the concepts of duty and breach of duty. These are terms which indicate that the defendant in the case had a reasonable responsibility to act with care and that their actions represented a breach of that responsibility. If these two elements cannot be established, then it is unlikely that the case can move forward.
Simply proving that the defendant breached their legal duty to act in a responsible way is not sufficient, however. It is also necessary to prove that the defendant's actions directly resulted in the accident and that the accident caused material damages. While these criteria may be relatively straightforward in certain cases, they can often be complex. In an accident involving multiple vehicles, for example, it may be difficult to prove that a defendant's negligent actions were the direct cause of the accident itself.
While having a basic understanding of negligence is a necessary first step, a successful case also requires that each element of negligent activity be proven. While civil cases do not require the same standard of evidence as criminal cases, it is still necessary to provide a preponderance of evidence. Even in straightforward cases, this often requires a significant amount of research and investigation. Additionally, courts require that specific standards be met before evidence can be used in a trial.
The difficulty of conducting research and properly obtaining evidence can make pursuing these cases especially complicated for amateurs. There are many potential pitfalls and falling into any of them can cost you time or even lead to an unsuccessful lawsuit.
How Attorneys Can Help
An experienced attorney will handle almost all aspects of your case for you. This includes investigating the details of the case, dealing with paperwork, and ultimately going to trial if necessary. Most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court, however, and this is yet another area where a lawyer with the proper training and experience is vital. Negotiating settlements is a skill in and of itself, and firms that specialize in these cases have extensive experience recovering damages through this process. In the unlikely event that your case cannot be settled, having an attorney on your side for your court battle will offer you the best chance of success.
For more information, contact personal injury attorneys like Kenneth P Hicks.