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Defining Who is Responsible in a Personal Injury Claim

Approximately 1.3 million Australians are estimated to experience a personal injury problem of some type within the next year. Despite this number, many Australians are unfamiliar with personal injury law and whether or not they’re entitled to make a claim.

If you’ve recently suffered a personal injury and you’re looking to make a claim, it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. In the meantime, u-Law can provide you with general information about personal injury. In this blog, we define personal injury in related to the law, as well as how to prove liability.

Personal injury and liability explained

Personal injury is a legal term that relates to damages to an individual that are caused by another party. The responsible party can be a driver of another vehicle, an individual, an employer or the owner or manager of public property. There are different types of personal injury, including physical or psychological damages, as well as defamation of character or reputation.

When a claim is made for personal injury, the responsible party for the damages are held liable, and may be required to financially compensate the injured party. Before this decision is made, however, liability must first be proved.

How do you prove liability?

Proving liability in a personal injury claim is not a simple process. Evidence will be required, including police reports, statements, and documents and records kept by both parties depending on the type of claim being made.

It is recommended that you employ a professional lawyer who specialises in personal injury claims. They will be able to complete extensive investigations on your behalf, reviewing all the facts, details and circumstances of the claim to ensure that an informed and legally sound liability decision can be made.

In some cases, insurance providers may also be involved in the personal injury claim. In this scenario, the providers will conduct their own investigations. They may request any evidence you have for review.

Types of liability

Once evidence has been reviewed, there are several different types of liability that may be established as part of your claim. These include:

Negligence

One of the most common causes of personal injury claims, negligence is when conduct from an individual falls below the expected standard of care and causes harm to another. There are a lot of legal elements involved in proving negligence, such as:

  • Duty – There must be legal duty of care owed to the injured party by the defendant
  • Breach – There must be evidence to prove the defendant breached their duty of care
  • Causation – The breach must be the cause of the injuries experienced
  • Damages – The injured party must incur loss and damage from the breach

Intentional conduct

In a situation where someone intentionally harms another person and they are aware of the consequences of their actions, this is known as intentional conduct. Examples of this are when someone punches another person or tries to run another person over with their car. In these cases, the responsible party may be guilty of additional charges.

Breach of statutory duty

Statutory are laws that a company, an organisation or members of a particular profession must obey. If a breach occurs and it results in personal injury that the statute is trying to prevent, or if the injured party belongs to a group that statute is trying to protect, then the defendant is automatically liable for damages.

Legal defences in personal injury claims

Depending on the type of personal injury claim, there are different legal defences that can be made regarding liability. These include:

Delegating duty of care to another party

In some cases of negligence, one of the parties involved may be found to have delegated its duty of care to another party. In this case, the other party will take full liability for the claim.

Assumption of risk

If the defendant is able to show that the injured party had knowledge of the risk but still chose to continue and was injured as a result, the defendant will not be held liable.

Absence of employee liability

If an employee causes an injury while they were working, they may not be personally liable for the damages. Instead, the liability may fall to their employer.

Trespasser defence

While the owner of a property is liable for injuries caused by negligence, this only stands for people who legally enter the property. If the injured party was found to unlawfully on the property when injured, the expected standard of care is significantly reduced, which in turn reduces the liability if any is still found.

Engaging a professional for personal injury claims

If you believe you are entitled to make a personal injury claim, the team at u-Law can help. With years of experience in the industry, we have the skills and expertise to fully investigate your claim and provide a legally sound case for liability. Enquire online today.

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