Catastrophic or Serious Injuries – Tort Law

Generally, Tort law is a legal term to describe civil actions seeking money damages for injuries caused by the negligence of another.

Trial lawyers who handle tort case are experienced at presenting evidence to prove the elements of the claim to juries in a story format that is clear, simple and compelling. The best trial lawyers spend most of the trial presenting evidence of the impact that tort cases have on their client. Preparing for, organizing and explaining catastrophic or serious injury cases is difficult and requires experienced trial counsel. Catastrophic or serious injury cases are highly litigious and are vigorously contested by defendants who do not want to pay for the damages caused by their negligence. Defendants fight these cases more aggressively than a personal injury claims of lesser value. Catastrophic injury case are not your typical “file and settle” case – unless you want to settle for pennies on the dollar.

We know how to aggressively handle and try catastrophic injury cases. We have a reputation for competence in the courtroom and being unfazed by aggressive defense tactics. We know how to tell the story of a life changing injury in the courtroom on a human level. Our results in catastrophic injury cases speak for themselves.

Here is a little background to help you understand what a trial lawyer considers when assessing your case:

DUTY OF CARE | STANDARD OF CARE

Was the defendant negligent?

Whenever someone is alleged to have been negligent, be it driving a car, designing a highway or using deadly force, the party suing for damages (the plaintiff) must prove the person being sued (the defendant) violated the applicable standard of care.

BREACH OF THE STANDARD OF CARE OR DUTY

Did the accident happen because the defendant was negligent?

Negligence is the failure to do what a reasonably prudent person would have done in the same or similar circumstance. For example, if a defendant drives drunk and is so intoxicated that he runs a red light and hits another vehicle is he negligent? Yes. Why? Because a reasonably prudent person would not drive drunk. Since the defendant drove drunk he did not act as a reasonably prudent person would have and violated the standard of care. As such, he was negligent.

CAUSATION

Causation means did the defendant’s negligence cause the plaintiff’s injury.

One common legal test for causation is the “but for” test. In the “but for” test lawyers ask “but for” the defendant’s negligence would the plaintiff have been injured? For example, if a train crossing light fails to work and a train hits a car injuring the occupants the question becomes “but for” the train crossing light failing would the accident have happened? The concept seems simple but in practice it often is not. Using the prior example, if the train crossing light failed what caused the failure? Was it the faulty design of the crossing light? Was it an improperly manufactured light bulb? Was the accident caused by something unrelated to the crossing light failure? For instance, was the train traveling at an unsafe speed? If so would the train have hit the car even if the crossing light had been functioning properly? You can see how this can become complicated – especially in the high stakes world of catastrophic injury cases. Skilled defense counsel will always use “but for” to muddy the water. The job of the plaintiff’s attorney is to show the jury the truth of the case and prove what caused the plaintiff’s injuries. We know how to show the truth of the case to a jury.

PROXIMATE CAUSE

Was the defendant’s negligence the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury?

Proximate cause is often confused with factual causation. Proximate cause essentially says even if the defendant was negligent and even if the defendant’s negligence was the factual cause of the plaintiff’s injury was the injury foreseeable? For instance, if the defendant gave a child a loaded gun to play with was he negligent? Of course he was. However, lets assume that the child takes the loaded gun and rather than shooting it throws it at his brother hitting him in the head. Is the defendant the legal cause of the injury to the brother? Maybe not. Why? Because while it is foreseeable a child might shoot his brother with a loaded gun it may not be foreseeable that the child would throw the gun a his brother injuring him. As such, while the defendant was negligent and the factual cause of the injury he may not be the legal cause of the injury to the brother – meaning he may not be legally responsible or required to pay damages. Once again, skilled defense counsel will try to confuse the jury on legal causation. We won’t let that happen.

DAMAGES

Damages are hard fought by experienced lawyers in catastrophic or serious injury accident cases. Insurance companies want to minimize the consequences of the negligent actions of their insureds to save money. An experienced plaintiff’s lawyer will use experts to help the jury understand the long term economic consequences of the injury to the plaintiff to maximize plaintiff’s economic damage claim. In addition to economic damages a plaintiff is also entitled to non-economic damages otherwise known as pain and suffering.

Non-economic damages are damages for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. A plaintiff’s lawyer must make the jury understand what the plaintiff’s life was like before the accident and how it was changed by the accident. Mr. Garrison and his team have been litigating and obtaining results in catastrophic and serious injury cases for over 20 years.  Mr. Garrison knows the law and issues these kinds of cases raise. Call him. Consultations are free. Choosing the wrong lawyer is not.