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The Many Kinds Of Fault In Personal Injury

When you get injured, the most important thing you can do for yourself is try to recover as safely and quickly as possible so that you can get back living your normal life. Unfortunately, sometimes with serious injuries this isn’t always possible as the effects of an injury may be permanent. Whether an injury’s effects on your life are temporary or permanent, one thing is for certain. If someone else is responsible for the experience you’ve suffered, they cannot—and should not—get away with it. This is why personal injury lawsuits exist, to ensure that whatever unfairness you have suffered does not go unanswered, and the people responsible accept and address the responsibility they have to you.

But even when you are not at fault, and someone else is, the situation can be far from simple. While there are often many cases where an injury can be attributed to one incident and one person, there are many more incidents where this is not the case. We’re going to look at some of those situations, and explain what your options are should it happen to you.

Partial Blame

One thing that does need to be considered—especially for the sake of both legal and financial honesty—is whether or not you yourself have any share of the blame. In the state of Florida, it is legally possible to pursue a personal injury case, and win, even if there is evidence that you may have had some fault. For example, if you were caught in a pedestrian accident where a car hit you while you were crossing the street, but you were jay-walking against a “do not walk” signal, you are likely to accept partial blame.

In such cases, the personal injury lawyers will attempt to “calculate” blame in terms of percentage. That percentage will then determine how much of the full amount for a personal injury lawsuit will be deducted from your own case should you win and are entitled to payment.

Multiple Parties

You may also find yourself in a situation where you are injured and more than one party is involved. For example, if you’re in a multi-vehicular car accident, the person that directly collided with your vehicle may take some blame, but the others that collided into that person’s vehicle will also share in the blame.

In these situations, if you, as a plaintiff, are suing for personal injury, the various lawyers in the case will be once again working to assign a percentage of the blame, with that percentage having a direct correlation on how much different parties are expected to pay out to settle the case. In general, if a court decides that a person is responsible for 10% or less of fault in an incident, then no damages need to be paid. Between 10% and 25% is up to $200,000 damages. 26% to 50% is up to $500,000, and if a person is more than 50% at fault, up to two million may be at stake.

Product Damage

If you should get injured not by a person or a component of the environment, but a specific product, this changes the rules a lot. Personal injury and financial compensation is still your primary concern, and that doesn’t change on your end. What does change is the way blame and responsibility are interpreted.

First and foremost, every company that produces a retail product for general consumer use is already legally required to comply with something called “strict liability.” This simply means that they are not legally allowed to release any product to the public that is not absolutely safe. If such a product does exist in their catalog, they are already in a great deal of legal trouble.

Where the degree of blame differs is in whether a company has knowingly or unknowingly violated their strict liability obligations. The infamous Ford Pinto scandal of the 1970s, for example, is a case where the American automobile company was internally informed of a dangerous product defect, but decided that quietly settling out of court with accident victims was actually more cost effective than a product recall and car redesign. On the other hand, the 2007 recall of Kenner’s new Easy-Bake oven design was a strictly voluntary action when the toy company realized that some children were injuring themselves on the latest redesign of this children’s oven.

In this case, a company is treated as a singular entity and can be sued, although if many people have experienced a similar injury under the same circumstances, these individual cases can be combined into a single case against a company, known as a class action lawsuit.

Whatever the nature of an injury case, one thing that does not change is that the people responsible should answer for what they’ve done. A good personal injury lawyer can help to achieve this.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

The Many Kinds Of Fault In Personal Injury

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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