Car accidents and slip and fall accidents can turn your life upside down in an instant. Some injured individuals assume they automatically have a personal injury claim against the driver who hit them. Some injured individuals think the grocery store where they slipped and fell should always compensate them. Whether you have a personal injury claim or not depends on the facts.
Did The Other Party Owe You A Duty?
In order for someone to be responsible for your injury they must first owe you a duty. Typically, that duty is one of Reasonable Care in the situation. A grocery store owes its customers a safe environment, free from hazards. Another driver owes the drivers around them. Namely, the duty to avoid causing injury to others.
Did The Other Party Breach Their Duty?
Once it is determined a duty was owed, you must next establish that duty was breached. In a grocery store slip and fall, an example would be if a store left standing water on the floor for an hour while shoppers were using the store. Or, if a grocery store was on notice that a cooler was leaking and failed to fix that cooler. If the water from the cooler leaked onto the floor, the duty was breached.
If another driver drives excessively fast, or leads police on a high speed chase and causes an injury to you, there is a good argument that driver has breached their duty to you. Generally, in North Carolina, if you rear-end another driver, you will be judged to have breached your duty to them. Therefore, a failure to leave enough stopping distance is a breach of duty.
Did The Other Party’s Actions Cause Your Injury?
Many times, when negotiating a personal injury claim, insurance companies want to argue over pre-existing injuries. If you fall in the grocery store and require surgery, the store wants to know if you already needed the surgery, prior to the date of the fall. If your primary complaint is back and neck problems, the store will want to know if you have a history of neck and back problems. Essentially, the at fault party is only responsible for the injury they caused—not for any injury you already had, or for any injury another party caused.
Do You Have Damages?
There are many times where a duty is owed, the duty is breached, but there are no damages. For instance, if someone is rear-ended by a vehicle traveling at 5mph. While technically speaking there was an accident, you would have a difficult time proving a bodily injury came about as a direct result of the injury.
Speak With A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you’ve been in an auto accident, or a grocery store flip and fall, you may have a personal injury claim. Call us today at 704.749.7747 to discuss your personal injury claim. We’re here to help you understand the options and you don’t owe us anything unless we reach a settlement for you. Or, if you’d like to schedule a free consultation by email, click HERE and we’ll reach out to you to set up a time to talk. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.