Personal Injury 101

By Michael V. Vollono, Esq. of Thompson and Vollono, LLC

    Unfortunately, there are times in life when people incur injuries caused by the wrongful conduct of another person. Sometimes, the pain of physical injury is made worse by lost wages, unpaid medical bills and the ongoing need for medical treatment. In these instances, many people file negligence claims seeking money damages for their losses. But what exactly is needed to make a recovery?

    The law requires that they prove three basic things. The first is proof of wrongful conduct, which is sometimes expressed as the reasonable person standard. That is, was the conduct something that a reasonable person would not do such as driving at an excessive rate of speed or driving under the influence.

    The conduct, however, must be wrongful. For example, some people believe that a landowner is automatically liable if another person falls on their land. This is not so. In order to be responsible for the injury, the landowner must have done something wrong such as maintaining a dangerous condition on the property.

    The next thing to prove is causation. This asks whether the injury flows directly from the wrong. Let’s say you have an existing back injury and you are involved in an accident in which you hurt your back. The responsible party may not be liable for all of your injury because not all of it was caused by the accident. Some of it was pre-existing and thus, not directly caused by the accident.

    The last thing to prove is injury. To recover money damages, a person must have suffered an injury. If a person is involved with an accident caused by the carelessness of another but is not injured, they do not have a claim. Additionally, the greater the injury, the greater is the loss and consequently, the larger the recovery.

    Remember, although you may not want to file a claim, it is always a good idea to speak with your attorney after an accident so that you know your rights.

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