Determining who was responsible for the accident in which you sustained the spinal cord injury also determines who you can sue and, in some states, how much compensation you can expect to receive in a personal injury lawsuit. Fault in this context is generally synonymous with negligence, meaning that the person “at fault” didn’t intend to cause you harm. Instead, he or she negligently acted, or negligently failed to act, thereby causing the accident that, in turn, caused your injuries. A Spinal Cord Injury lawyer such as David & Philpot, P.L. who specializes in that sector can help you in the case as you pursue compensation.
Given that virtually all personal injury lawsuits are grounded in negligence, establishing fault becomes the cornerstone of your case. Specifically, establishing fault is crucial in the following types of accidents:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Premises liability accidents
- Defective product accidents
- On-the-job accidents (if you want to sue in addition to receiving workers’ compensation)
Beginning the Process
One of the best ways to begin determining fault, especially in a car crash situation, is to take photos of the accident scene as soon as possible after the accident. This includes not only photos of the vehicles involved in the accident and the damage they evidence, but also of the following:
- Road conditions, such as rough pavement, debris, snow, ice, etc.
- Existence of traffic lights or the absence thereof
- Existence of construction signs or the lack thereof
- Existence of surrounding street lights, both working and nonworking
- Existence of traffic or other cameras in the area
In addition, talk to any pedestrians or others who witnessed the accident. Jot down their names, contact information and what they say they saw happen.
Finally, be sure to call 911 for law enforcement assistance and then make a police report once officers arrive. Do not speculate with them about who or what caused the accident; simply tell them what happened as quickly and succinctly as you can. Never say or imply in any way that you think you might have caused the accident or helped cause it, even if you think you did. Such statements are called admissions against interest and they could, and likely will, come back to haunt you in the future, especially if you sue someone or someone sues you.
Getting Legal Help
Your next course of action should be to consult an experienced local personal injury lawyer. He or she can review the police report, any available surveillance camera footage and all photos, yours and anyone else’s. He or she likely will also want to conduct his or her own follow-up investigation. All of these help establish who was at fault and therefore who bears legal responsibility for your injuries.