Determining Liability in a Personal Injury Case


by Tim O’Hare

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Determining liability is the first step in any personal injury case. Liability refers to whether a person or entity is legally responsible for the damages suffered by another party in an incident resulting in an injury. In any personal injury claim, liability of at least one party (individual or entity) must be established in order for an injured victim to recover any financial compensation for his or her injury claim.

The burden of proving liability falls on the victim, or plaintiff, in an injury case. In some cases, more than one party may be found liable. For example, in an accident where a commercial truck is involved (and at fault), the driver may be found liable, but his or her employer may also be found partly responsible, as well.

Negligence is the most common theory of liability in a personal injury case. Negligence means that the person or entity causing the accident acted in an unreasonable manner. For example, a driver may be found negligent in a car accident case if he or she was speeding at the time of the accident, or perhaps ran a red light, resulting in the collision.

Proving negligence isn’t always obvious. To prove negligence, the injured party must establish that the defendant had a responsibility to take reasonable care to prevent an accident, and failed to do so. It must also be established that injury or harm to another person occurred as a direct result of at least one party’s negligence in order to recover damages.

In addition to situations involving injuries resulting from an auto accident, personal injury cases may also involve injury resulting from a dangerous or malfunctioning product. Products liability is an all-encompassing term when someone is injured due to a product defect. Common types of products liability cases include (but are not limited to): defective tires, SUV rollovers, negligent vehicle maintenance, flammable products, defective safety equipment, design defects, pharmaceutical defects, manufacturing defects, improper product instructions and failure to warn.

Every year, thousands of recalls are issued on products, from vehicles to food to household items, because those items are defective or contaminated and are a potential harm to consumers. Manufacturers have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of their products, and to inform the public if they are at risk of injury, illness or death due to a defective product. Consumers who are injured by a defective product can file a legal claim against the manufacturer of that product.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of a traffic accident or a defective product, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free consultation with a Dallas personal injury attorney.

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