The word “negligence” is one of the most often used words in the field of personal injury law. When one of our clients (known as a plaintiff) is injured, he/she usually is aware that one of the most important things we do at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool is carefully set forth the evidence necessary to support our clients’ claim that one or more persons or entities (called defendants) are legally responsible for the happening of the accident.
Negligence is generally defined as being the failure to use that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. A simple way to think about it is to compare the conduct or “carefulness” of the defendant to how careful one might think a reasonably careful person (ie; a “prudent” person) would have acted, if that person was in the same situation.
HOW DO WE PROVE NEGLIGENCE?
Proving negligence is not always as easy as it sounds. The facts may involve an act, or failure to act, that occurred at the moment that your serious accident occurred. For example, perhaps you were involved in a car accident and the Defendant failed to make proper observations of a traffic light, stop sign, or some other traffic signal, or made an improper lane change, causing your accident. Such instances are common and may sound simple, but in order to best represent the injured victim’s interests, we often find it critical to hire engineers and accident reconstruction experts in order to expose the truth in the face of Defendants who do not want to take responsibility for their negligent acts. Our decades of experience has shown us that employing an expert to testify regarding the relationship between the vehicles in the roadway, and assessing speed, time, and distance of all the vehicles involved in an accident, is commonly a crucial part of proving your case and of ensuring the best possible outcome that we can obtain for a client.
On the other hand, proving negligence often involves assessing the degree of care that a particular defendant exercised well before the time that an accident occurred. For example, in the instance of a trip or slip and fall accident, a defective condition may have evolved over time, and the issue of negligence may hinge on whether a defendant used reasonable care in allowing a dangerous condition to exist or in allowing a defective condition to develop over a period of months or years, and assessing what if anything the person or entity did to correct the condition. Similarly, in a construction accident, the issue of negligence often involves what steps a company or its’ employees took to create a safe work environment prior to the time the accident occurred (such as by providing for example proper and non-defective fall protection equipment).
NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS VERSUS STATUTORY CLAIMS
Negligence is known as a “common law” claim, which simply means that it is law that evolved over a period of time from the decisions of courts and judges. Negligence claims, such as some of the examples described above, are the most frequent and common of the types of claims that are brought on behalf of seriously injured victims. However, there also are claims known as “statutory claims” or statutory “causes of action”, which are simply claims that are grounded or based upon special or specific laws enacted by the legislature. Sometimes statutory claims exist to protect a group of persons who are at particular risk of serious injury. For example, special statutory claims exist in the state of New York exist to protect construction workers (these are known in New York as Labor Laws). A more general type of statutory claim is known as a dram shop claim. Dram shop laws are special statutory laws that protect the general public by imposing liability against bars and taverns for serious injuries caused by serving alcohol to already intoxicated persons.
EXPERIENCED NEGLIGENCE LAWYERS
All of the attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool are extremely experienced and well versed in handling all types of personal injury claims. Indeed, personal injury law is the only type of law that we practice. Whether your particular serious injury involves a “negligence” claim or a “statutory claim”, we are here to help, to answer your questions, and bring any and all claims on your behalf that best suit your needs as a seriously injured plaintiff. We understand that your individual matter is your only case and the outcome can be critical to the future of yourself and your family. To us, there is no “simple” negligence case. There is almost always something more that can be done, or something performed differently or extraordinarily, that can help improve the ultimate outcome of your case.