How Negligence Works in Catastrophic Injury Claims

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When you have suffered a traumatic brain injury, burn injury, or some other catastrophic harm in an accident, you understandably want to know who is to blame. In Ohio, determining accountability for an accident requires establishing negligence. But what is negligence in the legal landscape exactly, and how does it impact your claim?

Here is what you need to know about how negligence works in catastrophic injury cases in Ohio.

Defining Negligence and Its Role in Catastrophic Injury Claims

Negligence is sometimes used interchangeably with carelessness. Both terms refer to actions or behaviors that someone commits without giving thought to the consequences of their actions. When people engage in these sorts of behaviors, they put themselves and others at risk of suffering severe injuries.

Holding someone accountable for your catastrophic injury requires establishing that this person acted negligently. The legal definition of negligence covers four essential elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and foreseeability.

Duty of Care

Duty of care refers to a legal obligation requiring the at-fault person to behave in a certain manner in a given situation. There is a generally recognized duty of care for all individuals to act in a reasonable manner to avoid hurting others. Special duties of care can also be recognized in the law, such as teachers' duties toward their students.

Breach of Duty

There must also be evidence of a breach of that duty of care by the other party. A breach simply refers to a thoughtless or reckless act that deviates from what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation. If no other reasonable person would have acted in the same way, then the person has breached the duty of care.

Causation

Another key element in a catastrophic injury claim involves causation. You will need to show that the other person’s actions are the cause of your catastrophic injuries. If you would have suffered the same harm regardless of whether the negligent person acted in the way they did, you may not be entitled to compensation.

Foreseeability

Even if the other three elements are present, you might not receive compensation if the at-fault party proves the catastrophic injuries you sustained were not a foreseeable result of their actions. What counts as a foreseeable consequence of any given breach is a fact-intensive inquiry.

How to Prove Negligence in a Catastrophic Injury Claim

It is not enough to tell a court that you believe the other person was negligent in causing your catastrophic injuries. Instead, you must prove that each of these elements is more likely true than not in your case. Proving each element requires that you provide evidence such as:

  • The testimony of eyewitnesses who saw the accident and your doctors
  • Photographs and video of the accident and its scene
  • Testimony from expert witnesses
  • Data and reports related to the incident, such as from a vehicle’s onboard computer if your injuries resulted from a car crash

Your attorney will develop a strategy using this evidence in order to prove your overall claim. For example, a catastrophic injury attorney may point to the aftermath of an accident and argue that such an accident and resulting injuries could only be the result of negligence.

Why It Is Essential to Work With an Attorney

It is advisable to work with an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer for the best results. Your lawyer can efficiently gather the evidence you will need to prove your case and ensure that you file your claim within any legal deadlines.

Additionally, an attorney can handle the many phone calls you will receive and need to make as you navigate the claims process. This benefit of having an attorney on your side can allow you to focus more fully on your recovery and adapt to any new limitations or restrictions you may face.

An attorney can also advocate on your behalf through a settlement or trial verdict. Your lawyer can help you understand what a fair settlement in your case could look like and when an offer that is made should be rejected.

If you cannot reach a settlement, you will want a knowledgeable attorney’s skills to help you navigate the procedures and logistics of presenting your claim in court.

FAQs About Negligence and Catastrophic Injuries

How Is Recklessness Different From Negligence?

Recklessness in the context of a catastrophic injury claim refers to a state of mind where a person knows or should know that a risk of serious injury exists but proceeds to act anyway. It suggests a more willful disregard for the potential consequences of their actions than negligence. Recklessness can also support a catastrophic injury claim.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for Catastrophic Injury Negligence?

In Ohio, you have only a certain amount of time to file a claim after an accident. If you want to file a claim for compensation following a catastrophic injury, you must generally do so within two years of the incident.

Is There Any Legal Difference Between Catastrophic and Non-Catastrophic Injuries?

No. Both types of injuries can support a compensation claim if they were caused by another person’s carelessness. The only significant distinction between the two is that the amount of compensation sought for catastrophic injuries is generally higher than for non-catastrophic injuries.

Consult a Cincinnati Catastrophic Injury Lawyer Today

Negligence is a critical part of your catastrophic injury claim, but establishing it can be complex and challenging. If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic harm in an accident, it is essential to consult an experienced catastrophic injury attorney.

The dedicated team at The Moore Law Firm has over 50 years of combined experience fighting for justice on behalf of injury victims in Ohio. To get started on your claim, contact us to schedule a consultation today.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.