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Establishing Who Is at Fault in a Personal Injury Case

Mark A. Simon Oct. 30, 2015

An important part of a case of personal injury in Denver is determining who is at fault, and if the person or business who caused the accident or injury behaved negligently. Negligence (or carelessness), occurs when the person or business did not take reasonable care to avoid injury to others, and it’s important to note that “reasonable care” can vary with time, place, and relationships. Sometimes the term recklessness is used as well, but the difference between recklessness and negligence is usually one of intent: whereas a negligent person may unintentionally endanger themselves or others, a reckless person does so with intent.

In addition to determining if there was any carelessness involved, the following general rules or questions help to further establish fault in a personal injury case:

The other person or business may be liable:

  • If the accident happened because of a defective product. The manufacturer and seller of the product can be held legally responsible for the injury or the accident, regardless of when the defective product was made or sold.

  • If the injury happened on a poorly maintained property. The owner of such a property can be held legally responsible, even if he or she didn’t create the particular condition that led to the accident or injury.

  • If the negligent person was working for someone else at the time he or she caused the accident. When this happens, the negligent person’s employer may also be legally responsible for the injury.

The other person or business may NOT be liable:

  • If the injured person was in a place where he or she wasn’t supposed to be. The other person or business may not be considered liable because the injured person knowingly went where he or she was not supposed to go or be.

Both the injured person AND the other person or business may share liability:

  • If the injured person was also careless. In this situation—called comparative negligence—if it’s decided that the injured person was careless as well, then the injured person’s compensation could be reduced.

How many people are involved in an accident or personal injury and the state’s particular laws around comparative negligence are some of the factors that can make the determination of fault and liability quite complicated. If you have recently experienced a personal injury, it’s important to get an attorney involved who can navigate these complex waters for you. Denver personal injury attorney Mark A. Simon understands the civil procedures around these types of cases, and can offer both the legal counsel as well as the compassionate approach you need when going through this process.