In the United States, all persons have a duty to care for themselves and the people around them in order to protect from undue harm and injury. The standard for that care is determined by the prudence that any prudent person would use in the same circumstances would use. Failure to exercise "reasonable care" is considered negligence. Under California Civil Code, as in many states, negligence which leads to injury is grounds for civil action in order to recover damages from the responsible party.
The "standard of care" in a personal injury case is often the subject of much scrutiny because it can very easily become a subjective issue. The argument typically centers on what "reasonable care" means for the particular circumstances of the specific case. In general, standard of care is differentiated between the positions of influence held by the defendant over the plaintiff. For instance, a doctor is held to a different standard under medical malpractice law than a property owner under premises liability law. While all people have a duty of care towards one another, the standard is determined by the circumstances of the incident and the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant at the time of the injury.
Negligence is the key element to personal injury claims of all types. Whether a claim of workers' compensation or a wrongful death suit, negligence is the main subject of topic and essentially determines liability for damages. The process for determining this negligence is done through the demonstration and examination of four factors.
The plaintiff will first be required to define the duty of care owed to them at the time of the accident by the defendant. This is done through demonstrating that there was an established relationship between them and defining the nature of the relationship is the key determinant in the standard of care required of the defendant under those circumstances. For example, the first responders to an emergency scene are held to a lower standard of care because of the strenuous circumstances than a surgeon conducting a routine operation is in the controlled environment of an operating room.
This would be the point at which negligence is mentioned in the procession of the plaintiff's case. Once the duty of care has been established, the complaining party will then go on to show a breach of that duty amounting to negligence and a failure to exercise reasonable care. In order for the personal injury claim to be successful, that breach must be the "proximate" or direct cause of injury to the plaintiff. This may be shown through evidence, an expert witness or by simply demonstrating that the injury would not have taken place had the breach not occurred.
Obviously, for a personal injury claim to exist there must be actual injury to the plaintiff. The injury can be financial, emotional physical or mental just so long as it can be compensated for through monetary damages, which is the end goal in any personal injury claim. While criminal prosecutions are done with a view to punish the wrongdoer, personal injury claims seek to repay the victims of wrongdoing, whether criminal or unintentional, for the damage done by the incident.
Because of complicated nature of the legal system, it is highly advisable that injured persons seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer. The requirements and elements to a successful personal injury claim differ from case to case, which is why an attorney should be consulted as to standing and grounds to sue. If you are seeking the help of a personal injury attorney in Santa Clarita, turn to The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus. Our legal team can examine the circumstances of your case and determine whether filing a claim of personal injury is the best choice for your situation. If it is, we will then walk you through the process and combine our efforts in order to facilitate a positive outcome for you. Contact a Santa Clarita personal injury lawyer from our office today to learn more about the services we offer.