Louisville Personal Injury Lawyer
Accidents happen, but they typically have an identifiable cause. This may be linked to an act of negligence or wrongdoing, and if this is so, the at-fault party can be held liable. This applies in a range of circumstances and situations, from trucking accidents to injuries caused by mismanaged childbirth complications. If you or someone you love has been injured, you may have grounds for legal action against the individual or corporation that caused you harm.
Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC has represented injured individuals and their families for over 30 years. Our Louisville personal injury lawyers have in-depth experience with all cases of this nature, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Defective product injuries
- Wrongful death
Our team of personal injury attorneys in Louisville, KY have recovered over $500 million on behalf of the wrongly injured, and we are standing by to see how we can help you. Call (502) 244-7772 to get started.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is an area of law that allow injured persons to pursue a compensation from those responsible for their injuries. Personal injuries can be any type of injury that affects a person, as opposed to their property. Personal injuries can be physical or non-physical injuries.
Personal injury cases can be based on three grounds – negligence, strict liability, and tort.
This is the most common ground on which a person may make a personal injury claim. Negligence holds persons or business entities accountable for their wrongful acts, which cause injury to another person. Another form of negligence, known as negligence per se, is based on injury caused by the violation of a law.
Any wrongful action or omission that results in injury or harm to another person may give rise to a civil legal action against the wrongdoer. Torts against a persona that can give rise to liability include assault, false imprisonment, battery, invasion of privacy, defamation, and emotional distress..
Sometimes, a person’s wrongful actions may be excused if there was no ill intent behind the action. However, there are certain offenses that do not look at intent or fault to hold the wrongdoer legally liable. Such offenses are strict liability offenses and persons or entities who cause injury or harm to others are held liable regardless of their intentions. Strict liability torts include product liability, when a defective product causes harm; abnormally dangerous activities such as storing highly flammable products; and keeping wild animals which may cause injury to others.
What Are the Elements to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?
Negligence is a ground for a personal injury claim. In order to succeed in a claim based on negligence, the injured person must prove all the elements of negligence. The following are the elements that must be proved in a negligence claim:
- Duty of care: the injured person must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Every person in society has a duty to refrain from acting in a way that will cause their neighbor harm. In this sense, a neighbor is not just the person who lives down the road from you. A neighbor is any person who could foreseeably be affected by the wrongful actions of the defendant. This duty requires every person to think about their actions and the possible consequences to others. For example, motor vehicle drivers owe a duty to other road users. Injury to other road users is a foreseeable consequence of reckless driving, or driving with defective motor vehicle parts.
- Breach of the duty of care: the defendant breached their duty of care to the injured victim. The victim must prove that the defendant failed to act with reasonable care. Every person is held to a standard of care in different situations to avoid causing harm to persons they owe a duty of care. Failure to act according to the standard of care is a breach of the duty of care. Generally, the standard of care is determined by what is expected of a reasonable person in the defendant’s position. For example, a reasonable store owner would ensure that customers are protected from wet floors to avoid causing them injury. Failure to keep floors dry or put up caution signs around wet floors is a breach of their duty to their customers.
- The breach caused harm: the victim suffered harm or injury because the defendant breached their duty of care.
- The breach was the proximate or legal cause of the injury: the victim must prove that but for the defendant’s actions, they would not have suffered harm or injury. The legal cause of a person’s injury is not always apparent. For example where a person is injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a tire blowout. The tire accident may have been caused by poor maintenance of the vehicle, driver speeding, or a defective tire. If the tire blowout was caused by a defect in the tire, then the legal cause of the victim’s injury could be the defective driver, and the manufacturer, even though they were not present at the accident, would be held legally liable as the proximate cause of the victim’s injury.
- The victim suffered actual damages: the victim must prove that they suffered actual damages because of their injuries. If an accident victim is able to stand up, dust themselves off, and carry on with their life without any financial or other loss, then they would not be able to prove actual damages. Actual damages could include the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering. Actual damages claimed in a lawsuit must be supported by evidence.
In order to succeed in a negligence claim, a victim must prove all elements of their claim. Failure to prove any of the elements of negligence is fatal to the claim.
What Is Negligence Per Se?
There are laws which impose a duty of care or prohibit certain acts for the benefit of the public or a class of persons in society. In the context of car accidents, for instance, operators of motor vehicles are prohibited by law from driving while intoxicated. Such laws are enacted to protect the health and safety of other road users. When a person who is within the class of persons whom the law intends to protect is injured, the elements that they must prove to succeed in a negligence claim is reduced. What the victim must prove is that:
- The defendant violated the law;
- The victim was within the class of persons whom the law intended to benefit; and
- The violation of the law was the proximate or legal cause of the victim’s injury.
Because the law imposes a duty of care, a violation of the law is proof of the defendant’s breach of their duty of care to persons protected by the law.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Get for a Personal Injury Claim?
The goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to make the victim as whole as possible, to restore them to the position they would have been in had they not suffered injury because of the defendant’s actions. Personal injury law does this by financially compensating the victim for the economic and non-economic damages that they suffer from their injury.
These are tangible damages whose value remains constant regardless of who is evaluating them. Economic damages can be determined by a review of receipts, invoices, medical bills, and other such evidence. They may include past and future medical expenses, property damages, past and future lost wages, or out-of-pocket expenses.
These are intangible damages and they are often less concrete and more subjective than economic damages. Non-economic damages usually require the input of economics experts who can help to put an economic value to such damages as pain and suffering, loss of joy in living, and emotional distress.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Kentucky?
While a person might have a valid legal claim, it is important to keep in mind that there may be time limits within which legal action must be commenced. This time limit is known as the statute of limitation. Different statutes of limitations apply to different offenses.
Every person has a right to defend themselves against any accusation. That is a fundamental provision of our judicial system. This means that every person must be given an opportunity to present the best evidence in their case. The reasoning behind statutes of limitations is that with the passage of time, a defendant may lose their ability to adequately defend themselves. Over time, witnesses who may be crucial to a defendant’s case may either die or be impossible to locate. Essential documents required to prove their position may be destroyed, and the memories of key witnesses may fade. This is why limits are placed on the time that an injured person has to file a legal complaint.
In Kentucky, the standard time limit to make a personal injury claim is one year. Under the provisions of Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(a), most personal injury claims must be filed within one year of the act that caused the injury. This one year deadline applies to all claims including those government entities. In some states, claims against government entities must be brought within a different time limit from claims against private persons or entities.
Persons injured in car accidents, however, may be allowed two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit according to Kentucky Revised Statutes section 304.39-230.
What Happens if I Fail to Make a Personal Injury Claim on Time?
Failing to make a claim on time can be fatal to your claim. Unless your claim falls under one of a few exceptions, once it is established that your claim has run out of time, you will not be allowed to proceed with your case. The defendant will almost certainly use that as a basis to move for your case to be dismissed.
While it may seem like you have enough time to make a claim, you really do not. Identifying the parties legally responsible for your injury takes time and resources. Preparing to prosecute a claim also involves a lot of time and resources to build a strong case and gather all the evidence required to prove the elements of your case.
What if the Defendant Says I Am at Fault?
It is not unusual for defendants to try and avoid liability by blaming the injured victim. Under the old rule of contributory negligence, a victim could not recover any damages if they were found to be at fault for the accident that caused their injury. This resulted in very harsh outcomes because a finding of even one percent fault against the victim would deny them recovery of any damages.
Fortunately, like many other states in the U.S., Kentucky has adopted the rule of comparative negligence, which places fault on any party that had a negligent part in causing the victim’s injury, including the victim. This means that if the victim is found to be 20% at fault for their injury, the amount of damages they are entitled to will be reduced by the fault attributed to them. For example, if the victim is entitled to $100,000 in damages, their total recovery will be $80,000. Likewise, if there are multiple defendants responsible for the victim’s injury, each defendant will be held liable for damages in the percentage of fault attributed to them.
Contact an Experienced Louisville Personal Injury Attorney
Whether you are negotiating a settlement or taking a case to court, it is always best to have an experienced Louisville personal injury attorney working for you. An experienced personal injury attorney in Kentucky knows the law, but more importantly, they understand the tactics that defendants use to avoid liability. Having a Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC attorney by your side shows that you mean business. We will deploy our over five decades of experience to protect your interests and get the best resolution in your case. If you need more information about how we can help you in your personal injury case, contact us to schedule your free consultation or call 502-244-7772 today.
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- Hospital Liability Settlement $55 Million
- Product Liability Settlement $30 Million
- Truck Accident Jury Verdict $27.3 Million
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