Negligence is a legal theory forming the basis of most personal injury claims. Just because there was an accident and you were injured doesn’t mean you’re entitled to compensation for the harm you suffer. You must show the other party’s at fault because they intentionally hurt you or made mistakes that qualify as negligence.
Insurance companies offer liability coverage to their policyholders. They will provide legal representation and pay for settlements or jury verdicts if a claim or lawsuit is filed and their insured caused your injury due to their negligence.
Given the facts we find during our investigation and Kentucky laws, we decide if your injuries were due to a party’s negligence. Your injuries may be clear and well-documented, but you don’t have a case without evidence that the other party’s negligence caused them.
We also represent victims of intentional injuries, but those cases are relatively rare. Insurance policies won’t cover harm caused on purpose, and we need to know that the other party has enough assets to make a lawsuit worthwhile.
What are the Elements of Negligence?
To be successful, the negligence legal theory requires you, the plaintiff, and the party filing the lawsuit, to establish different factual and legal elements by a preponderance of the evidence (it’s more likely than not that what you allege is true). You’ll need to show:
- Because of the relationship between you and the defendant (the party sued), they owed you a legal obligation or duty to do or not do something given the situation
- The defendant breached that duty or failed that obligation
- That breach or failure is the legal (or proximate) and factual cause of the accident
- The accident caused you harm
- Under Kentucky law, the defendant must pay you damages (a measurement of your injury in dollars)
Some of these elements may be more or less difficult to prove, depending on the situation.
How Would This Play Out in a Case?
That relationship could be that you’re:
- A customer in their store
- A fellow driver on the same road or highway
Their legal duty may be to:
- Maintain a reasonably safe store environment and be on the lookout for possible dangers
- Drive reasonably safely in a reasonably safe vehicle
Their breach of this duty may be:
- Not to clean liquids off floors that can make them slippery or have uneven stairs that can cause people to trip
- Driving while distracted, fatigued, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, faster than the speed limit, or by ignoring stop signs and lights
The accident caused by this breach could be:
- You slipped on a floor or fell down stairs
- The other vehicle collided with you at an intersection
Your injuries could be physical, emotional, psychological, or financial. They happened in the past and are expected to continue in the future:
- You broke bones, suffered organ damage, or traumatic brain injuries
- Memories of the vehicle accident keep you awake at night
- You’re depressed because permanent injuries will limit you for the rest of your life
- Your ability to earn an income is decreased, and you face substantial bills for medical treatment and rehabilitation
Damages are an attempt to put a dollar value on this past and future harm. They are based on medical bills, percentage of disability, decreased paychecks, and severity of the pain and suffering you endure.
We would tie all this together and argue to the court, or convince the insurance company through negotiation, that given:
- The evidence
- State common law (developed through court cases over the years) and statutory laws
- Which holds accountable people who acted like the defendant and inflicted injuries on people like you
- The defendant’s required to compensate you for your damages
Nearly all cases settle, so all these elements must be shown to the insurance company. We could file a lawsuit and lay out your case to a jury if they’re not reasonable during negotiations. They would decide if the defendant acted negligently, if that caused your injuries, and if so, how much damages they should pay you.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Not everyone drives perfectly all the time. Many accidents are partially caused by the parties involved. When you shop, you may not be focused on what’s in front of you while you walk through a store.
Kentucky is a comparative negligence state. Each party is assessed a share of the crash’s cause. The fact that you’re partly to blame doesn’t prevent you from seeking compensation for your damages. But that percentage of fault is deducted from the damages you would’ve received if others were totally to blame.
Speak To A Satterley & Kelley, PLLC Personal Injury Attorney Today
If someone else’s negligent actions caused injuries to you or a loved one, Satterley & Kelley PLLC lawyers are here to protect your interests and legal rights to compensation. Don’t deal with an insurance company and severe injuries by yourself.