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    Personal Injury Lawsuit: Is It Required That You Prove Intent?

    It’s easy to take things personally when somebody hurts you in an accident. Whether they acted intentionally or not, you want them to pay for what they did. That’s exactly why you hire a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia in the first place. When we first meet with clients, one of the questions they ask us is if they have to prove that the defendant acted intentionally. The short and easy answer to that question is no. It is very rare that one of our Philly injury lawyers must prove intent in a personal injury lawsuit. Typically, the only standard required by the civil courts is negligence.

    Negligence is another way of saying that the defendant failed to act the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances. For example, everybody knows it’s against the law to text and drive. The other driver in your car accident case was texting at the time of your crash. Does this mean they acted intentionally? Technically, yes they did. However, they had no intention of hurting somebody. They certainly had no intention of getting into a car accident. Yet, their actions did lead to your injuries. This means they should be held accountable and should be required to pay you damages.

    It’s Very Rare That a Plaintiff Can Prove Intent in Their Personal Injury Case

    As briefly stated above, it is very rare that a defendant in a personal injury case acted intentionally. This is one of the reasons why the courts don’t require personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia to prove that the defendant acted intentionally. The only time we have cases where intent is involved are those that involve a crime or a situation in which the defendant had a vendetta against the plaintiff.

    In the decades of combined experience that our attorneys have, they have handled very few cases that involved intent. The law doesn’t require your Philly injury lawyer to prove intent. All they must prove is that the other party acted negligently. This is a much lower standard than you see in a criminal court case. 

    If Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Prove Negligence, You Have a Shot at Collecting Damages

    As long as your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia can prove that the defendant was negligent, you should receive damages. To do this, they must prove four things:

    • Your Philly injury lawyer must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care
    • You must show that the defendant breached this duty 
    • Your attorney also has to show that you suffered some sort of injury and
    • You must demonstrate that your injuries were indeed caused by the defendant’s behavior. 

    Obviously, every case is different. Whether or not your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia can prove negligence will depend on the facts of your case. However, as long as you can prove negligence, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be entitled to damages.

    You Will Have to Show That the Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care

    The first element of negligence is that the defendant owed you a duty of care. The type of duty they owe you will depend on the circumstances. For example, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it will not be difficult to prove that they had a duty of care. All drivers must obey the speed limit and other traffic laws. It can be a lot harder to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care in other types of accidents. If you had a slip and fall at a grocery store, your attorney will argue that the grocery store owner or manager had a duty to keep the store clean and free of debris. If you were injured because of a dangerous product, your lawyer will simply argue that the manufacturer had a duty to recall any items that posed a danger to the public. Once your Philly injury lawyer proves that a duty was owed, they need to prove that that duty was breached somehow.

    Your Philly Injury Lawyers Must Also Show That the Defendant Breached Their Duty of Care

    The hardest part of any personal injury lawsuit is proving that the defendant breached their duty of care. This is where the nuts and bolts of your case come into play. Your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia must prove that the other party did something, or failed to do something, that a normal person would have done given the circumstances. For example, using the car accident example above, you would satisfy this element of negligence if you could prove that the defendant was drunk at the time of the crash. In the slip and fall case example, all your Philly injury lawyer would need to prove is that the owner of the store refused to invest in caution signs or refused to hire a management company to ensure that the store was always clean. 

    Of Course, You Also Have to Prove That You Were Injured

    Regardless of whether you can prove that the defendant breached their duty of care, your attorney must show that you suffered some type of injury. It is not enough to show that you were involved in an accident. If you didn’t suffer a loss, physical or financial, you do not have standing to sue in civil court. If you were in a car accident, you would have to demonstrate that you suffered some type of physical injury. It would also suffice if you could show that your car was totaled as a result of the crash. In any other type of personal injury case, your personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia will have to demonstrate the same thing. What injury did you suffer? If your attorney cannot demonstrate that a significant injury was sustained, you will likely lose your case and will not receive damages.

    Arrange for Your Free, Initial Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia

    If you or your loved one were recently involved in any type of accident, you should contact our office right away. We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. Take advantage of this opportunity to sit down with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia so they can review your case.

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