A serious injury can change your entire life. Your injury may ruin you financially, as you struggle to keep up with mounting medical bills.
Your injury might also cause you to be out of work for a while or lose your job altogether. This is on top of all the pain and suffering that usually goes along with a major injury.
Dealing with life after an injury is especially difficult when you believe the injury was someone else’s fault. You can recover money damages for your injury through a personal injury if you can prove that your injury was caused by negligence.
What does proving negligence involve?
Proving negligence is challenging. You must show that the other person had a duty to act reasonably and failed in that duty. You must also show that their failure caused your injury and prove your damages.
For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you must show that the other driver had a legal duty to drive safely and they were not driving safely because they were speeding. You must then show that their speeding caused your car accident, and you broke your leg as a result.
What if the other person says the accident was my fault?
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in a personal injury case is showing that no part of the accident was your fault.
Rhode Island is one of the few states that follows what is called a pure comparative negligence system in personal injury matters.
This means that a court will decide what percent each person in the case was at fault and award damages according to that percentage.
Pros and cons
The good part of this system is that unless a court decides the accident was completely your fault, you can recover some damages.
The bad part is that you could receive a low amount of damages, depending on how much of the accident the court determines is your fault.
To demonstrate how comparative negligence works, you could provide evidence showing your total damages were $100,000 and ask the court to award you that amount of money. However, if the court concludes that your own negligence made you 50% responsible for the accident, you would only be awarded $50,000.
Proving your case with evidence
You must prove your damages through evidence. Common types of evidence are medical bills, pay stubs showing what you made if you lose your job and other expenses associated with your injury.
The person you file the personal injury claim against is likely to use this as their main defense. They will find many ways to try to show that the accident was your fault so they do not have to pay you as much.
Each personal injury case is different and proving negligence depends on the specific facts of each situation.