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Car accidents and personal injury claims -- What are the basics?

The laws and legal principles regarding personal injury claims apply in many different situations. Before, taking a look at the basics of personal injury claims resulting from car accidents, perhaps it is best to consider what personal injury law actually is. In Tennessee, as across the United States, personal injury law provides a legal remedy to an injured victim in a civil court for losses resulting from negligent or intentional conduct. The aim is to provide financial compensation for the harm suffered by the victim because of the negligent or willful actions of another party or parties. 

Personal injury law originates mainly from common law rules -- meaning that the laws were established by judges as they heard personal injury cases. While there are many similarities, personal injury laws generally differ from state to state. Claims can be filed for many different types of cases, such as injuries due to defective products, intentional acts to cause harm and even defamation. Our focus will be on claims arising from accidents.

How does it all work? Personal injury cases are never exactly the same, as the circumstances in all accidents are different. However, there are certain aspects that have to be evident in the case. In the first place, the defendant must have done something which caused or contributed to the plaintiff being injured.

Secondly, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant did not fulfill a legal duty owed to the accident victim. For instance, a driver has a legal duty to drive in such a way as one would expect a reasonable person to do. If it appears that an injury was caused by someone's breach of a legal duty, the injured victim may benefit from seeking professional assistance in determining on how to proceed. In Tennessee, victims of car accidents may wish to consult with a lawyer in order to decide on filing a personal injury law suit and/or to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

Source: alllaw.com, "Learning the Basics: Personal Injury Law", David Goguen, Oct 7 2014

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