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For many victims of undue injury, it may seem as if determining fault in a New Jersey personal injury lawsuit is a fairly straightforward process. In truth, however, establishing and proving liability can be quite complicated. In most cases, whether a party is found liable depends largely on whether his or her actions were negligent, careless or reckless.

Most accidents occur because at least one party acted carelessly. In accordance with the basic rules of injury claims, if a person involved in an accident is found negligent, he or she is required to pay for all or part of the damages the victim suffers. But in certain situations, it can be difficult to tell who or what truly caused an accident or injury, and fault may be less clear or fall on more than one party. The following conditions can complicate legal liability in a personal injury case:

  • The injured person was where he/she was not supposed to be - Consider a person who was trespassing at the time he or she suffered an injury due to inadequate property maintenance. Most often, he or she cannot collect personal injury compensation because property owners do not have a legal duty to provide safe premises for trespassers.
  • The injured person was careless - A person whose own negligence contributed to his or her accident or injury may be entitled to less compensation from the liable party than he or she would otherwise receive. In order to obtain any compensation, an injury victim must be found less than 50 percent at fault.
  • The accident occurred on poorly built, secured or maintained property - Consider a situation in which a person suffers injury from an assault that occurred in a notoriously unsafe parking garage or building lobby. In a case like this, the victim may have a valid claim against the property owner who should have provided adequate security.
  • A defective product caused the accident - Say a car swerves wildly out of its lane and causes an accident in which several motorists are injured. The victims would initially believe the car's driver was at fault, when it reality, a vehicle malfunction caused the driver to lose control. The manufacturer would be liable for the crash and resulting injuries due to the negligent design or assembly of the defective vehicle.

Determining fault in a New Jersey personal injury claim can be a complex process, but an experienced attorney can help. To maximize your options for obtaining rightful compensation, always seek professional advice before taking legal action.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
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Morristown, NJ 07960

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