preparing yourself for an injury lawsuit

Beyond Negligence: Two More Bases For Personal Injury Claims

Injury victims are accustomed to seeking damages only if they can prove the negligence on the part of the person they are accusing of having caused the injuries. However, negligence isn't the only legal basis for seeking personal injury damages. Here are two more legal principles under which you can pursue personal injury damages:

Strict Liability

Strict liability laws allow a person to be held legally responsible for an injury even if there is no proof of their carelessness or fault. In strict liability, you just need to prove that the person you are accusing owned the product or committed the act that caused your injury.

It is usually reserved for people producing or engaging in dangerous activities, such as those who manufacture or transport explosives. The rationale for this is that a person should automatically know that engaging in a dangerous activity or dealing in a dangerous product is dangerous. Knowing that and going ahead with the activity then makes the person automatically liable for any injuries the activity or product might cause.

You just need to prove these three things to satisfy the strict liability offense:

  • The defendant did something that was dangerous under the circumstances.
  • The dangerous act caused something bad to happen to you.
  • You suffered actual harm as a result of the injury.

For example, if you are making a strict liability claim against a transporter of unstable explosives, you may have to prove these three things in this manner:

  • It was dangerous to transport the products by road.
  • The unstable explosives ignited where the car.
  • You suffered burn injuries as a result of the fire.

Intentional Torts

Just as you can pursue a criminal charge against a person who intentionally hurts you, you can also pursue an injury claim (in a civil court) against the same person. This is the legal principle of intentional torts. An intentional tort carries a greater level of wrongdoing than a negligent or strict liability action; this means intentional torts also attract severe punishments than the other two.

Here are common examples of intentional torts:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Defamation
  • Fraud

Therefore, if you have been injured in an accident, don't assume that you aren't entitled to personal injury compensation just because you can't identify the responsible party. That's what lawyers are there for; talk to a personal injury attorney to see if your case falls in either of the two categories above.