Accident & Personal Injury Claim, what are they and who is responsible?
A tort or negligence claim refers to a legal action taken by an individual (plaintiff) against another individual, organization, or entity (defendant) for an alleged wrongful act that caused harm or injury (Damages) to the plaintiff.
Tort law is a branch of civil law that deals with personal injuries, property damage and civil wrongs, providing a legal framework for individuals, and even legal entities, to seek compensation for damages resulting from the actions and/or omissions and negligent acts committed by others.
In a tort claim, the plaintiff asserts that the defendant's actions breached a duty of care owed to them, which resulted in harm or injury. The duty of care is a legal obligation imposed on individuals or entities to act in a manner that a reasonably prudent person would in similar circumstances, to prevent foreseeable harm to others. When this duty is breached and harm occurs, the plaintiff may seek compensation for various types of damages, including physical or emotional injuries, property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Sometimes the spouse or parent of the injured party has their own independent claim of loss of consortium, as a result of the above.
There are several types of tort claims.
- Negligence: This is the most common type of tort claim, arising from the failure to exercise reasonable care. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care, breached that duty (Exran a stop light)and the breach caused the plaintiff's injuries (Remember; no harm, no foul).
- Intentional Torts: These claims involve intentional acts that cause harm to another person. Examples include assault, battery, defamation, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (easier to prove and harder to collect your damages).
- Strict Liability: In certain situations, liability may be imposed on the defendant regardless of fault or intent. Strict liability often applies to cases involving defective products, hazardous activities, or keeping dangerous animals (dog bites as an example).
To pursue a tort claim, the plaintiff typically files a lawsuit in Justice, Superior or Federal Court and presents evidence supporting their allegations. The defendant has the opportunity to defend against the claim by presenting evidence to counter the plaintiff's arguments. If the court finds the defendant liable, it may order the payment of damages to the plaintiff. Sometimes the Defendant’s actions are covered by their insurance and at other times, such as intentional acts, are sometimes excluded from coverage.
It is worth noting that tort laws may vary between jurisdictions, so the specific elements and procedures involved in a tort claim can differ depending on the applicable legal system (State v Federal). Consulting with an attorney who specializes in tort law is advisable for individuals seeking to pursue a tort claim.
Examples of claims
A driver runs a red lite and t-bones you. You suffer catastrophic injuries.
A grocery store creates a puddle of water from melting ice on a pallet and you slip and fall, tearing up your hip and knee.
A business owner does not warn you of a hidden danger on their property and you trip in a hole that’s overgrown with vegetation, breaking your ankle.
You buy a new vehicle (UTV) and it has a defective wiring harness, that causes an electrical fire while parked in your garage and your home burns down. The manufacturer is strictly liable for your damages.
Your child is at school and during recess, the playground monitor is not supervising the kids, and your little one is on a a piece of playground equipment, designed for older kids and gets badly injured.
You are waiting at a stop light and the car behind you is not slowing down as it approaches you and all you can see, is the top of the other drivers head. It is apparent that the driver behind you is not paying attention and probably staring at their cell phone. The driver runs into the back of your car, and you do not hear any braking by the other driver, but only feel the impact and you get pushed into the car in front of you due to the force of the impact and now your car has both rear end and front end damage.
You are riding your motorcycle on a beautiful sunny day in Phoenix and as a car approaches you from the other direction, it’s left front wheel comes off and bounces a couple of times before it completely cleans you off your bike and lays you out in the street. You come to find out that the driver just had new tires put on her car, by a well known auto tire replacement store, who clearly failed to tighten the lug nuts on her wheels. You now have an additional claim against the automobile tire replacement store for their shoddy negligent work (another pocket to reach in to).
You are a driver for a delivery company and you are driving one of their vans. A driver runs a stop sign and smashes into you and you get hurt. Arizona Worker’s Compensation kicks in to pay your medical expenses and lost wages but not pain and suffering. You still have a claim against the other driver that caused the accident even though you were on the clock at the time of the accident. This is called a third party claim. You can now collect outside of Arizona’s Worker’s Compensation law. The law though, does provide for any worker’s Compensation carrier to be repaid out of your settlement proceeds. This is called a Worker’s Compensation Lien.
If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Chuck Franklin Law is dedicated to helping accident victims recover the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us today for a free consultation.
Contact me at (480) 545-0700. Visit chuckfranklin.com for more.
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