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Proving Personal Injury Claims: Two Key Concepts

Anyone who believes they have been harmed by the actions of another person or group of people has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Proving personal injury claims in court, however, is not always easy. The following article takes a detailed look some of the key concepts involved in trying to prove this type of case.

Reasonable Person

To win your case in court you need to prove that someone's negligent actions or negligent inaction led to your injury. An important legal concept concerning negligence is the "reasonable person" standard. The law will judge the guilt or innocence of the defendant in the case by comparing their behavior to that of a reasonable person who was in the same circumstances.

For example, if someone was loading heavy bags into a truck and noticed that children were playing next to the vehicle, a reasonable person would not continue to load the truck while the children were in harm's way. If an individual did not take this precaution and a child was injured, the person loading the bags would not meet the reasonable person standard and would probably be held liable for the child's injuries in a civil proceeding.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Another important legal doctrine that is sometimes relevant when trying to prove a personal injury claim is known as "res ipsa loquitur." In English, this means that the "thing speaks for itself" and is so obviously self-evident that no further proof is required. Typically in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need hard evidence to show someone has been negligent. But in some instances, the fact that something actually occurred is considered to be self-evidently negligent.

For example, if you were walking by a warehouse and were hit by a barrel that fell out of the building, you could claim that the principle of res ipsa loquitur applies because there is no reasonable way that the barrel hits you unless someone in the warehouse with negligent. Only in extraordinary circumstances, such as an earthquake occurring just as you were passing by the warehouse, could this type of accident happen without anyone being responsible.

Proving negligence is a vital component of winning any personal injury lawsuit. If you cannot show that the defendant was negligent your case is almost certainly going to fail. The laws surrounding around these cases are very complex and you will need expert help to succeed. For more information about these legal concepts related to personal injury law, contact a professional personal injury attorney.