Some Georgia residents who have been injured in an accident might be wondering what makes a personal injury lawsuit successful in a court setting. A showing of negligence is required and, to be proven, there are specific factors that must be present in order for the party who caused the injuries to be held responsible for them. Since evidence is often unclear and lacking in specificity, negligence in some situations can be proven under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, a Latin phrase meaning ‘the thing speaks for itself.”
This principle is often used in cases where circumstantial evidence demonstrates that negligence on the part of the defendant was present, even though there may not be any direct proof. It can apply to situations where common knowledge and the events that took place indicate that the injury would not have happened in the absence of the defendant’s negligence.
There must also be a showing of proof that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, and that the evidence does not point to the possibility that the injury was caused by the act of the plaintiff or of a third party. The element of duty of care is important in any negligence case, and in the example of a premises liability action, the status of the plaintiff as an invited guest rather than a trespasser will often determine whether the defendant owed it any duty.
Each personal injury case has different facts and circumstances. Preventable accidents may not all fall under this common law doctrine, and the unique nature of what led to a person’s injuries may determine whether a personal injury claim should be filed. Since every component of the case is important, a person who wishes to understand if their case might be actionable might wish to consult with an attorney for guidance.