You’re out shopping at your favorite retail outlet and slip on something you were unable to see on the floor because it was a liquid that blended in with floor tiles. In the fall, you injured your knee and suffered deep cuts on one of your arms as a result. Your brain is immediately flooded with a barrage of questions such as:
• Who is responsible?
• Is it the fault of the store or is the manager, owner, or other employee at fault?
• Can you prove that a specific individual or entity is liable?
Just about every personal injury claim involves some form of fault or negligence and in some cases, the case may have to go in front of a judge and jury in order to determine who was negligent. Having a Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Catharines will ensure that you get the right legal advice as needed.
The Basis of Negligence
Every negligence case poses the same question – “did the defendant act like a reasonable person would’ve under the same circumstances?” For instance, if a child is suing their parents, they would compare the couple to what the jury believes to be reasonable parents. Consequently, if you are suing a doctor for malpractice, a jury would compare his or her actions the medical community’s standards. In motor vehicle accidents, negligence can be proved if the at-fault party wasn’t obeying the traffic laws, nor did they have a valid excuse for not obeying them.
In personal injury law, negligence is proven through circumstantial or direct evidence. The difference is as follows:
• Circumstantial evidence requires the gathering of facts in order to reach a conclusion based on producing such evidence.
• Direct evidence is derived from photos or videos as well as a witness’s personal knowledge of the circumstances.
In special types of negligence cases, the courts mandate rules and guidelines that govern them. For example, proving negligence in a defective product (product liability) case is different from the way it’s proven in a medical malpractice case. Furthermore, in some cases, the plaintiff may use the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself” – Latin) to prove negligence.
This doctrine or theory enables a jury to infer that the at-fault party acted negligently, even if there is no additional proof of misconduct. However, the plaintiff must prove that event wouldn’t have happened had the defendant not been negligent and was in control of the device that caused their injuries. For a legal interpretation of negligence, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. They will not just take care of the claim process, but represent your rights in court.