Determining Liability In A Personal Injury Lawsuit

Whenever a person sustains injuries in an accident, they may consider filing a personal injury claim in order to recover damages and be compensated for them. In most cases, the amount of compensation the injury victim (plaintiff) receives is based on determining who is legally responsible (or liable) for the accident. When the accident was caused by the careless or negligent behavior of one party (the defendant), the plaintiff could be entitled to compensation for damages.

Can more than One Person be Liable?

In some personal injury cases, the details do not always point exclusively to one person and multiple parties may be at fault. For example, a retail store employee reacted in proper fashion and erected a barrier or placed warning signs to alert customers about an area of the sales floor that was slippery or wet due to a liquid spill. Unfortunately, one impatient customer chose to ignore this and proceeded to walk through the area to continue their shopping.

As a result, the impatient customer slipped and fell, thereby injuring themselves and contributing to a situation that already existed. So, who should be blamed? In situations such as this, the judge hearing the case would assign blame to both parties. He may find the store owner 75% responsible for not cleaning up the spill while at the same time assigning 25% of the responsibility to the impatient customer.

Consequently, both of the parties must share the expenses attributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. When both parties are legally responsible and the judge determines that this is a case of shared liability, we have what is often called contributory negligence. If there is compensation awarded in order to cover expenses attributed to this, the defendant is responsible for paying 75% while the plaintiff is responsible for the other 25%.

Additional Case Examples of Shared Liability

In addition to the example of the impatient customer and the slippery floor above, here are a few other scenarios where shared blame and cost could be assigned:

• A driver who isn’t wearing a seat belt gets hit by a speeding vehicle.

• A motorcyclist who isn’t wearing a safety helmet gets struck by a motorist who has failed to see him or her.

• A young child is crossing the street without using a crosswalk and is struck by a driver who fails to come to a full stop.

For more information regarding shared blame and cost in a personal injury lawsuit, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Medicine Hat. Most of these lawyers specialize in this field and will help you navigate the legalities better.