What Can Happen After a Breach of Duty?

Almost everyone has duties to loved ones, neighbors, and employers, but a “breach of duty” is a legal concept. If someone else’s breach of duty causes you to suffer an injury, you can bring a personal injury claim against that person with help from a Phoenix personal injury attorney.

What “duties” have been breached when someone is injured because another person was negligent? How can you be compensated if you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence? What will a Phoenix personal injury lawyer do on an injury victim’s behalf?

Keep reading this brief discussion of personal injury law and your rights, and these questions will be answered, but if you’ve been injured by negligence, or if you are injured by someone else’s negligence in the future, you should also reach out – at once – to a personal injury lawyer.

What Does a Victim Have to Prove in a Personal Injury Case?

If you are injured in Arizona because a driver, property owner, product manufacturer, or healthcare professional has been negligent, you may take action to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and related losses and damages.

In the State of Arizona, in order to prevail with a personal injury claim and show that the “defendant” (the allegedly at-fault party) was negligent, the injured victim or “plaintiff” and that plaintiff’s attorney have to show that:

  1.  The plaintiff was owed a “duty of care” by the defendant.
  2.  The defendant negligently breached that duty of care.
  3.  The breach and negligence were the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.

What is a Duty of Care?

Personal injury cases begin by determining if a defendant owed a duty of care to a plaintiff. The amount or level of care a defendant may have owed will differ in different circumstances. Doctors, for instance, owe patients the duty to deliver adequate, competent health care.

A driver owes others who are on the road a duty to drive sober, safely, and responsibly. Consumer product manufacturers have a duty to stop defective products from reaching the public. A property owner owes others a duty to keep his or her premises reasonably safe.

How is a Breach of Duty Determined?

Once it is established in a personal injury case that a defendant in fact had a duty of care, the next question is: “Did the defendant breach his or her duty by acting negligently or by failing to take the action that a reasonable individual would have taken in comparable circumstances?”

If the answer to this question is yes, the next question will be, “Was the defendant’s negligent action or failure to act in a reasonable manner the cause of the plaintiff’s injury?”

If the answer to this question is yes, the defendant will be deemed liable for the plaintiff’s injury. If the defendant is liable, the last step in an injury case is determining the amount of compensation that the defendant should pay to the plaintiff.

How is the Amount of Compensation Determined?

Arizona law entitles the injured victims of negligence to recover compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages. The victims of negligence also are entitled under Arizona law to recover compensation for personal suffering and pain related to their injuries.

While it may seem like it would be difficult to arrive at a dollar amount for these non-economic damages, experienced attorneys develop your damages from the start of your representation.

When Should You Contact an Arizona Injury Lawyer?

If you are injured in Arizona because another person was negligent, how will you know if you qualify to recover compensation? You can find out by contacting a Phoenix personal injury attorney and requesting a free case evaluation.

Your attorney will examine your injury claim and explain how this state’s injury and liability laws apply in your case. You will receive reliable, personalized advice, and you will be able to make an informed decision about proceeding with legal action.

However, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as quickly as you can after you have been examined and treated by a medical provider. If you and your lawyer move forward with your claim, your lawyer will immediately begin gathering evidence and speaking with witnesses.

However, if you don’t contact a Phoenix personal injury lawyer at once, that evidence might deteriorate or even disappear, and the memories of the witnesses will quickly begin to fade.

How Will Your Personal Injury Claim Be Handled?

After your damages are fully developed, your personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the defendant’s attorney or insurance company to settle your injury claim out-of-court. The majority of injury claims in Arizona are settled this way – out-of-court.

But if liability for your injury is disputed or if a defendant does not offer an acceptable settlement in a reasonable amount of time, your lawyer will litigate your claim and possibly go to trial if the case does not settle prior to trial.

What Else is Important to Remember?

After a breach of duty that causes an injury or injuries, the statute of limitations in Arizona gives you two years to initiate legal action. Evidence can deteriorate over time and witnesses can forget important details.

As soon as you’ve been treated and examined for a personal injury, contact an Arizona personal injury lawyer at once. Do not wait two years or even two weeks. In fact, you should speak immediately with an attorney.

Your attorney will handle your personal injury claim on a contingent fee basis. You will pay no attorney’s fee upfront and no attorney’s fee unless you recover compensation. Your initial case evaluation is offered without cost or obligation.

If you were injured because another person breached a duty of care, the law will be on your side. However – and this cannot be stressed strongly enough – after you’ve been injured, you must contact an attorney as quickly as possible.