When figuring out if a person has a personal injury case, there are three essential elements that a person must prove in order to win her case. Before we get to these three essential elements, you must understand that a person who has a personal injury case is typically called the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff is like a prosecutor, which means that the Plaintiff carries the burden of proof. In other words, the Plaintiff MUST prove all three essential elements to win her case. If the Plaintiff fails to prove just one of the three essential elements, then the Plaintiff loses.
Element 1: Liability
Liability is the legal term for "who's at fault?" It simply means "someone did something that they should NOT have done" or "someone did NOT do something that they should have done."
Some common examples of liability:
(1) An 18-wheeler veering into the wrong lane of traffic and hitting a car head-on (like in the picture above)
(2) A car running a red light and rear-ending a stopped car
(3) A products manufacturer making a defective product
Element 2: Damages
Damages is the legal term that simply means "what harm was caused."
Some common examples of damages which can be recovered in Arkansas include:
(1) Suffering a permanent injury like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
(2) Incurring medical bills
(3) Pain and Suffering
(4) Missing time from work
(5) Being unable to work again
Element 3: Proximate Cause
Proximate Cause is the legal term that means "a cause which, in a natural and continuous sequence, produces damage and without which the damage would not have occurred." In other words, if the liability did not happen, the damages would not have happened.
Proximate Cause is the essential element that connects the Liability to the Damages. And this essential element can sometimes be the trickiest to understand. A common defense to this essential element is to blame another event as the source of the Damages. So instead of blaming the car wreck, the insurance company or defense lawyer will blame a prior event in someone's past as the source of the damages.
Every personal injury case is unique, but all personal injury cases generally have the same three essential elements to prove in order to win the case. Gates Law Firm prepares each client's case for Trial. We have found that this mindset allows us to dot every "i" and cross every "t" so that we are fully prepared to achieve justice for our clients.
You don't have to bear this alone. We got your back. Call Gates Law Firm today to discuss your legal options.