When you are injured by the actions of another person, you enter a section of legal territory known as tort law. While tort law is vast and full of potential conundrums and quagmires, the basic idea principles required to navigate a tort case are quite basic. You need to prove that it was in fact the actions of the other party involved in your accident that caused your injury and that they could have prevented the harm. 

Proximate Cause

The injured party is not the only one who has rights in a tort case. The person inflicting the injury also has rights: for example, the right not to pay out for fraudulent claims. If someone has a longstanding injury that is getting worse, an accident might provide a convenient opportunity to get someone else to pay for doctor bills. For example, a person might complain of back pain after a car accident. If this pain started before the accident, the claimant will have to prove that the car accident caused a separate injury. While back pain can be crippling, the other driver in the accident should not have to pay for pain that did not stem from the accident. This is what is known as proximate cause. The burden to prove that a particular action was the cause of the pain and suffering inflicted on the injured party rests solely with the claimant. 


In some cases, the claimant might be partially at fault for an accident or incident that resulted in their actions. For example, if the claimant failed to yield at an intersection and the defendant was speeding, both drivers might share blame for the resulting collision. In some states, a claimant who shares the blame for an accident cannot make a claim. In other states, the amount of money awarded in damages will be decreased by the percent that the claimant was at fault. Insurance adjusters and/or police officers are responsible for determining fault in an accident, and their findings can have a significant effect on a case.

When you decide whether to pursue a personal injury case, you need to first analyze who was at fault for the accident and whether the pain you feel actually resulted from the case. If there is any doubt about whether your injuries actually stem from the accident or you were partially at fault for the accident, you should think twice before you file a claim. In the worst case scenario, you will have to pay legal fees and have nothing to show for it. Discuss your case with a lawyer, like James Lee Katz, to help decide what is the best course of action to take.