Providence Personal Injury Lawyer Louis W. Grande discusses the various factors impacting the financial outcome of a personal injury case.
Our legal office receives numerous phone calls from accident victims, asking whether they can receive compensation for both physical injuries and property losses in an accident where they were not at fault. The answer to this question, as is the case with most legal inquiries, is it depends on the facts of the accident, the coverage available, and your specific situation. In some cases, it is more advantageous to choose only to pursue one avenue of recovery. Sometimes our clients are best off if they seek recovery for physical injuries under one insurance policy and property losses under another. However, if you have been involved in an accident and are seeking both physical and property damages, we will work with you to make sure you are compensated correctly.
Res Ipsa Loquitor
One of the most important aspects of tort law is res ipsa loquitur, a legal theory under which the fact that an accident occurred is proof of negligence. While not applicable in any case, it can be used by a Rhode Island personal injury attorney if you don’t know exactly how you were injured or who is responsible but know that your injuries wouldn’t have occurred without negligence from someone. Most accidents that occur are caused by the defendant’s negligence. Negligence comprises four elements: duty, breach, causation, and harm. From a res ipsa loquitur perspective, the plaintiff in a civil lawsuit can sue for both physical injury and property damage caused by a negligent defendant. Our office handles many negligence claims, and the more information we have about the incident itself, the better we can assist you with claiming damages.
The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is also useful in cases where your injuries are obvious but no one will take responsibility. In medical malpractice cases where a surgery or other medical procedure went wrong, the patient may not have any idea who is actually responsible. An experienced medical malpractice attorney Rhode Island residents trust can use res ipsa loquitur to bring an action against the entire medical team collectively in order to expose the wrongdoer.
Defining Injury to a Person
There are three main physical intentional torts against persons: assault, battery, and false imprisonment. While the colloquial definition of assault is often associated with physical injury, an assault merely requires that the perpetrator make the victim scared of an immediate injury, regardless of whether that injury happens. Battery takes place when a perpetrator actor intentionally causes the victim harmful or offensive physical contact. In a physical injury negligence case, the plaintiff must establish that they were harmed by the defendant without their own negligence being a form of causation. If you are involved in a battery case where the defendant intentionally knocked you to the ground while trying to run away from law enforcement, you can sue for the physical injuries you obtained. However, if the battery caused you to drop your cellular device into a puddle, you could also sue for personal property damages.
Using Insurance for Both Personal Injury and Property Damage
Many individuals focus on either personal injury or property damage, and are unaware that they may have an insurance claim for both. If you sue for a personal injury in a lawsuit and lose, you may be precluded from bringing a property damage claim in a subsequent lawsuit. Insurance companies are well aware of these legal doctrines, and will try their best to do what is most beneficial to their bottom line. Our legal office can work through these details to ensure that you are not barred from bringing a lawsuit because you are unaware of these doctrines. The at-fault party will also provoke you to try to settle your claims before consulting legal representation. They are well aware that if you are to consult with a knowledgeable legal team before making any decisions about your case, they will likely have to pay much greater damages.
The Bottom Line
If you want to bring a lawsuit against an at-fault defendant, you should seek legal representation to go through your options. Our clients often have a very open mindset with a thirst to know the best course of action with their particular set of facts. They trust our legal opinions because they know our office has their best interest in mind. We will not allow insurance companies and at-fault defendants to stop you from receiving full compensation for your damages. If you feel you have both a personal injury claim and a property damage claim, we will develop a strategic cause of action to make sure you are not barred from recovering appropriate damages from both claims.