Put simply, liability is a legally enforceable financial obligation. It’s also a term you’ll hear in reference to debts owed, such as on a financial sheet detailing assets and liabilities.
Liability is a critical component of Kentucky personal injury lawsuits. The party liable for an accident in Lexington, KY is also the party that is responsible for covering the cost of damages related to that accident.
What Is Liability in a Personal Injury Case?
In a personal injury case, liability is imposed on a party who caused injuries to another person. This is usually in the context of a negligence action.
When it comes to personal injury law, the assumption exists that every individual is responsible for his or her own actions. Kentucky personal injury law further assumes that all of us have a responsibility to behave in a way that will not cause injury to other people.
This principle is sometimes known as the duty not to cause harm. When an individual fails in that duty, resulting in an injury to another party, that individual is financially liable for damages they have caused.
With that in mind, liability can be established by proving the elements of negligence:
- An individual owes others a duty of care
- By action or inaction, that individual fails to uphold that responsibility (breach of duty)
- The breach of duty causes harm or loss to another person
- The individual who breached the duty of care is liable for damages to the injured party
When it comes to Kentucky personal injury claims, some tangible injury or other loss must occur for liability to exist. There can be no basis for a case involving personal injury without actual damages.
Defining Negligence and Fault
In personal injury law, negligence is defined as a failure to act within reasonable expectations. Negligence may apply to accidental omissions or deliberate acts.
Within the confines of personal injury law, a fault is the direct or the indirect cause of an event. Although it may not always be the case, liability and fault are typically the same. In other words, the party that is financially responsible for the damages event is the party that is at fault for the accident.
How Can A Lexington Personal Injury Help Determine Liability?
In order to get money for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering in a personal injury lawsuit, you have to properly identify the responsible party.
Sometimes, a single individual is at fault in a Kentucky personal injury case. Often, particularly in truck accidents, construction accidents, and product liability cases, multiple parties may be liable for damages. To recover the maximum amount of damages, you need to pursue all potentially liable parties.
Some ways an experienced attorney can help determine who is at fault include:
- Conducting an independent investigation into your accident
- Interviewing witnesses
- Analyzing all relevant documents, such as accident reports, police reports, and medical records
- Hiring expert witnesses such as accident reconstructionists, toxicologists, engineers, and more to determine the precise cause of your accident
Each case is unique. But a legal team with experience litigating personal injury claims will know how to pinpoint the cause of your accident so that you can recover the compensation you deserve.
What if Multiple Parties are at Fault?
If multiple parties are at fault, they share liability. That’s because Kentucky follows a pure comparative negligence rule when it comes to negligence cases. That means each party carries financial responsibility for the portion of the accident that they caused.
For example, suppose a box falls off a truck because it wasn’t properly secured. Another vehicle swerves to miss the box, veers into the other lane, and collides with another car. While the driver that lost control may be at fault, the truck that failed to secure its cargo could also be at fault because they created a dangerous obstacle in the road.
A jury may determine that the trucking company is 80% responsible, while the driver who swerved is 20% responsible. In this case, if a jury awards the victim compensation of $150,000, the city would be on the hook for $120,000, while the driver’s share of damage responsibility would be $30,000.
It’s important to note that if you are injured in an accident, if you are determined to have been partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced. Insurance companies often try to blame the victim to avoid paying the compensation they owe.
That’s why it’s important to have an aggressive legal team fighting for you if you’re facing blame for an accident.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident in Kentucky and you believe that someone else is liable, contact us at (859) 550-2900 a reputable Lexington, KY personal injury attorney to understand your legal options.