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Related Articles

Personal Injury Overview
Personal Injury Basics

How Personal Injury Cases Work
Who Can You Sue for a Personal Injury?
What to Expect in Your Case
Legal Elements
What is Forseeability?
Varying Degrees of Negligence
Difference Between Recklessness and Negligence
Trying a Personal Injury Case
Four Common Forms of Evidence Used in Court
How Objections Work in a Trial
Proving Your Injuries to a Jury
What is the Preponderance of The Evidence?
Defenses
Three Defenses You’ll Encounter
Common Defense – Last Clear Chance
Common Defense – Preexisting Conditions
Common Defense – Interveneing Causes
Common Defense – Assumption of the Risk
Is Opposing Counsel Trying to Contact You?
Common Defense – Consent
Compensation
Collateral Source Rule
Duty to Mitigate Damages
Prejudgment Interest
Postjudgment Interest
Nominal Damages
One Satisfaction Rule
How a Release Works
Types of Claims
Burn Injuries
Neck and Back Injuries
Bystander Claims
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Who Can You Sue in a Personal Injury Case?

Home » Who Can You Sue in a Personal Injury Case?

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Some of the Most Common Defendants in a Texas Personal Injury Case

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Determining who you can file suit against in a personal injury case can be more complex than it might appear on its face. For example, when you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver, obviously, you can file suit against him or her to recover damages for your injuries; however, you might be able to sue other parties involved in the accident. Many personal injury cases involve parties other than those who are directly involved in an accident, and who may be liable for the injuries caused. This article will examine some of the different types of people you may be able to sue for your injuries.

A Defendant’s Employer

Imagine that you are driving home from work when a pizza delivery driver collides with your car after running a red light. You would be able to sue the pizza delivery driver for the injuries you sustained. What if he does not have enough money to cover all of the costs of your injuries?

If the pizza delivery driver was making a delivery when he hit your vehicle then you might be able to recover compensation from his employer. Under Texas law, employers are liable for the actions of their employees made during the course of their employment. If you are injured by an employee while he is performing his duties of employment, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries from their employer.

Your Employer

If you are injured in a workplace accident that is caused by the negligence of another, you can sue the person who caused the accident, but you might also be able to sue your employer. For example, if you work for a construction company and are injured, on the job, due to your bosses negligence, not only could you sue your boss, but also the person who owns the construction company.

Your employer has a duty to make sure that he provides you with a safe work environment. If you are injured because of the negligence of your boss, your employer has not fulfilled his duty, and he may be liable for your injuries. There are other considerations that you need to take into account that could limit your employer’s liability, such as whether or not he is a subscriber to worker’s compensation.

A Manufacturer

If you buy a defective product from a store and are injured as a result of the defect in the product, the store may be liable for the injuries you received. However, you might also be able to sue the company that manufactured the defective product. As long as the store you bought the product from is in the business of selling those types of products and did not alter the product, then the manufacturer of the product might be liable to you for your injuries.

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For example, imagine you bought a blender from Walmart, and the first time you used the blender it overheated and exploded sending glass chards from the blender everywhere injuring you. You would be able to sue Walmart for your injuries because they are in the business of selling such goods making them liable for the selling you a defective blender. Also, if Walmart did not alter the blender, you would be able to sue the company that manufactured the blender and recover compensation for you injuries from them.

Do you have a legal issue or question?You Need an Experienced Attorney To Represent You In You Personal Injury Case

There are a number of defenses that a third party defendant could use in an attempt to avoid liability for your injuries. However, an experienced attorney will likely be able to hold the proper defendants accountable for your injuries. Our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have over twenty years of experience, winning over a hundred personal injury cases. They have the skill and the experience necessary to identify all of the potential defendants in your case and get you the compensation that you deserve. Call today for a free consultation regarding your personal injury case at

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Foreseeability in a Personal Injury Case

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What is Foreseeability?

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Foreseeability is a prerequisite for determining if someone acted negligently. To prove that someone acted negligently, you must prove that there was a duty of care, that the duty was breached, that the breach caused the injury, and that the victim suffered actual damages. The concept of foreseeability is utilized in determining duty of care, breach, and causation.

Consequently, foreseeability is the foundation for negligence claims. Foreseeability involves knowing that the act or failure to act presented a danger to others. Being able to foresee an injury is essentially being able to reasonably predict or know in advance that something would happen. Therefore, foreseeability is being able to reasonably predict or know beforehand that your action or inaction would or could cause another person harm.

How Does Foreseeability Affect Duty of Care?

A person is only responsible for your injuries if they first had a duty of care. In most instances, people owe a general duty of care to not harm those around them. The court must first determine whether or not the defendant even owed any duty of care given the particular circumstances of your case. If a court rules that no duty of care existed, they are faced with deeper queries.They then must define the scope of that duty of care.

For example, if you are swimming at the beach and you begin to drown, the lifeguard has a required duty to protect you. But how far must he go to make sure that you do not die? Does he only have to pull you out of the water and remove you from that danger, or is he required to perform CPR if you aren’t breathing? Furthermore, if he has already warned you about the danger of the tide, does he have any responsibility to rescue you from the waves? The lifeguard clearly has a duty to protect you, but the extent of that duty as defined by the courts becomes crucial to the overall liability of the lifeguard.

What Affect Does Foreseeability Have When Determining Whether A Breach Occurred?
When determining whether a duty was breached you do not question whether the actual harm caused was foreseeable; rather, you examine the foreseeable likelihood and severity of injuries that their actions might have caused. The purpose is to determine what extent of foreseeable risk the breach might produce. For example, say you and your friend have drinks together at a bar. When you are finished, you both leave the bar and drive home in your separate cars. Too intoxicated to drive, you accidentally back into a parked car while attempting to leave the parking lot. You have clearly caused damage to the other person’s car and are liable. But now consider your friend.

Also too intoxicated to drive, your friend is involved in an accident while driving home. Unfortunately, your friend hit and killed a pedestrian who was crossing the street. Although you and your friend caused different amounts of damage (yours being a scuffed bumper and your friend’s being death), you both are equally negligent because the type of breach that occurred was foreseeable. Your negligence is equal because your actions were identical (driving while intoxicated), you both produced the same foreseeable consequences. Even though you both caused different amounts of damage, you both also breached the same duty of care and are both negligent.

How Does Foreseeability Affect The Determination of Causation?

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After the court decides that a person owed a duty of care and that duty was breached, it must then conclude whether that breach was the actual cause of the damage. Causation is based on the connection between the defendant’s wrongful act and the injury sustained as a result. This third element of negligence limits the defendant’s liability to only harm that it could have reasonably foreseen. The defendant cannot be liable for any harm the court deems to be outside the realm of foreseeable harm.
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Texas courts impose this limit of liability so as to protect the defendant from unjust or outrageous punishment. For example, an employee at a car wash brings his car in to have it cleaned. After washing it, someone moves your car to a remote area of the parking lot, leaves the keys in the ignition, and then it is stolen. By parking it in a remote area of the parking lot and leaving the keys in the ignition, the risk of your car being stolen was foreseeable. However, consider this alternate situation. After washing your car, someone moves it to a remote area of the parking lot, and after walking away the car is suddenly hit by an asteroid. This harm is absolutely not foreseeable, and it would not be considered just to hold me accountable for your loss. When you decide on a location to park your car, your concern is for prevention of theft or from other cars hitting yours. Being hit by an asteroid is not within the foreseeable risk of harm.

Grossman Law Offices has compiled a great deal of knowledge regarding personal injury law, and we are experienced in representing victim’s claims in court. We have a full knowledge and understanding of the law that your claim will be subject to and know how to best represent you in a personal injury claim. If you or your loved one has suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of another, call Grossman Law Offices for a free consultation at

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Degrees of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Degrees of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

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What are the Differences Between Slight Negligence, Reckless Negligence, and Gross Negligence?

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If you have been injured due to some other party’s conduct that fell below what would be considered the way that a normal person would behave under similar circumstances, then you may be able to file a lawsuit to recoup for the losses you have incurred. The party’s actions would be considered to be negligent, which may impose liability on them for any damages that result from their failure to act with the appropriate standard of care.

In order to establish negligence, there are certain elements that must be proven. Which elements must be proven hinges on the specific circumstances of your case and which theory or degree of negligence you will be claiming in your cause of action. You will need to use the most advantageous theory to your particular injury to ensure that you are able to recover. That is why it’s so important that you have an attorney that knows exactly how negligence works and what must be proven to ensure that your cause of action is successful. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have been handling personal injury lawsuits based on negligence theories for over two decades in Houston and the state of Texas. Therefore, we have the necessary skill and training to ensure that you are able to receive the compensation that you truly deserve.

Degrees of Negligence

There are varying degrees of negligence that are legally actionable. Statutes and different judicial decisions have established these degrees. Therefore, you could have a defendant who was only slightly negligent compared to one that may be considered grossly negligent. This will differ depending on what type of conduct in which the defendant was engaging.

To illustrate, if the defendant is operating a common carrier (airplane pilot/bus driver) where there is a very high standard of care, then even a tiny bit of negligence could subject them to liability. Comparatively, if the defendant was driving a personal automobile then the amount of negligence needed to establish liability would need to be greater.

There are three general ‘degrees’ of negligence that have been accepted by courts.

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Slight Negligence
This is the situation where the defendant is required to exercise a high duty of care like the common carrier, so only a small amount of negligent conduct will be required to establish liability.

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Reckless Negligence
This is a complete lack of care for the safety of the people around you that will almost certainly end up with someone being injured. An example would be driving over the speed limit or in a reckless manner in a school zone.

Gross Negligence
If gross negligence is necessary to impose liability you need a much higher degree of negligence than, for example, slight negligence. It will typically involve the kind of conduct that, taken under the circumstances, shocks the senses in how inappropriate or unreasonable it is.

As you can see there are several different routes that your potential lawsuit may take in the event that you are claiming that the party that caused you injury was negligent. As stated previously, there are differing elements of proof that must be established to be successful in these causes of action. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have been handling personal injury lawsuits based on varying negligence theories of recovery for two decades and are fully capable of handling your claim for you. To discuss your potential lawsuit in greater detail, contact us a
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Negligence vs. Recklessness

Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Negligence vs. Recklessness

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What is the Difference Between Negligence and Recklessness in Relation to a Personal Injury?

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The terms negligence and recklessness may seem to be interchangeable, but legally speaking they are very different. Each of these terms will be described in detail to illustrate both their differences and their similarities.

What is Negligence?

In order to understand negligence you have to understand that it’s based on owing others a “duty” to not harm them. Basically, everyone has a duty to not to affirmatively act in such a way that you would create an unreasonable risk of harm to other people. However, this is not to be confused with a duty to be careful against events that may occur that are not reasonably foreseeable. In other words, if there is no way you could have predicted that a certain event would happen by your actions then you do not have a duty to act in a way to make sure you do not put another person into an unreasonable risk of harm. An example of an unforeseeable event would that you have no duty under which could you be held negligent is listed below:

Ray put Charlie onto a pony. Unknown to anyone there, the pony had a rare and strange disease that would cause it to collapse which resulted in Charlie breaking his leg.

Result: Ray has no duty because this was not a foreseeable event.

Moreover, you only owe a duty to foreseeable a plaintiff, which is illustrated below with the same scenario as above.

Ray put Charlie onto a wild house but then the horse kicked Charlie’s mom who was helping Charlie get onto the horse.

Result: They are both probably foreseeable plaintiffs because Charlie’s mom was near the horse.

What is the Standard of Care Used for Negligence?

Typically we will use an objective standard of reasonable care, which means the ordinary, prudent person. It is not necessary to delve into whether this particular defendant did his best to avoid the harm that occurred; just a reasonable standard is applied as opposed to that particular person’s abilities. As such, unintelligent adults will not get the benefit of being held to a lower standard of care in the instance that they are the subject of a personal injury lawsuit for negligent breach of duty of their standard of care. However, interestingly enough if the adult has greater knowledge and greater experience- that may be taken into consideration.

What is Recklessness?

In contrast, while negligence is often associated with personal injury lawsuits that are primarily civil matters- recklessness is typically associated with criminal actions. Recklessness is the basic decision to ignore a known risk, that the defendant is aware will likely cause some negative outcome. With negligence you simply need a duty, a breach of that duty, damages, (the resulting injury) and causation. The defendant need not necessarily know of the duty, they simply have to act in a way that an ordinary prudent person would not. A reckless person is a person who likely knows of this risk, yet chooses to proceed with his/her planned course of conduct regardless. This is the key difference between negligence and recklessness.
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Evidence Used in a Personal Injury Case

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A discussion of four types of evidence commonly used in a personal injury case

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Evidence plays an important role in the judicial process. It is what is used to prove or disprove different parts of a client’s case. There are four main types of evidence that are used in court, testimonial evidence, exhibits, documentary evidence, and demonstrative evidence.

Testimony

Testimony is evidence that is offered by a witness regarding their understanding of some event. There are two kinds of witnesses, first hand witnesses or eyewitnesses, and expert witnesses. First hand witnesses testify about their observation or understanding of an event. For example, if a car ran a red light and crashed into another car, an eyewitness who was present at the scene of the crash could testify about his observation of the events. Eyewitness testimony is some of the most common and persuasive evidence for a jury.

On the other hand, expert testimony is testimony given by someone who is an expert in his or her field who gives their understanding of an event. For example, imagine you are in a car accident and the other driver claims that he hit you because his brakes did not work, an expert witness could examine the brakes in the car and testify about whether or not the brakes are really broken.

Exhibits

Another type of evidence is an exhibit. Exhibits are physical objects that are presented into evidence. For example, if you are injured in a workplace accident because of someone else’s negligence your attorney could use an exhibit illustrating all of the different injuries that you sustained and the different medical procedure you have undergone. Exhibits can be very persuasive for a jury because people are generally more persuaded by visual representations of injuries rather than just spoken descriptions of injuries.

Documentary Evidence

Documentary evidence is evidence that is presented in the form of documents. For example, in many personal injury cases, the victim will suffer from some injury that requires medical attention. As part of the damages for the personal injury claim the victim is entitled to receive the cost of his medical care. In order to prove what the cost of his medical care is, the victim could present a copy of his actual medical bill to the court. This would be documentary evidence. Documentary evidence is useful because it is usually pretty clear cut and easy to understand.

Demonstrative Evidence

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Demonstrative evidence is evidence that represents some other tangible item, like a picture or a video or sound recording. For example, if you are injured in an automobile accident, you could use a photograph of the scene as well of the damage done to your car and any injuries that you sustained. Demonstrative evidence can be very useful because juries respond well to visual representation of information.
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You Should Hire an Experienced Attorney to Represent You In Your Court Case

Knowing what kind of evidence is useful and persuasive for a jury is something that takes experience. You want an attorney that has years of experience of using different pieces of evidence to successfully persuade a jury of their client’s case. Our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices have over twenty years of experience and have won literally thousands of cases for their clients. Call today for a free consultation regarding your personal injury claim at
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“Objection!” Rather, How Objections Work

Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » “Objection!” Rather, How Objections Work

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How objections work in a personal injury trial

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Non-lawyers have a particularly negative impression of objections and the rules of evidence in general. Many people feel that these are just legal maneuvers that prevent the truth to be brought out in court. The truth is objections are the way that the legal system keeps everything fair, it prevents individuals from saying things that they have heard other people say, and allows for only the facts of the case to be presented. The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices are well versed in trial procedure, we know how and when to use the appropriate objection, and can make sure that your case is not brought down by inaccurate testimony and half-truths presented by the opposing counsel. We can assist you in your Houston area personal injury action.

When can parties object?

Unlike many popular TV legal dramas, most cases do not go to court. There are many steps that occur before a trial and many of which the attorneys can object upon. Trial is always the last step of the legal process. Before individuals go to trial, their attorneys conduct pre-trial discovery, and often conduct pre-trial depositions. These are the legal proceedings where objections often occur.

Pre-Trial Discovery:

All cases have pre-trial discovery that occurs. This is used to allow both sides to become aware of the facts of the case as well as to allow both sides access to information that they may not otherwise be able to get. An example of this would be if an individual is injury by a defective product, the defendant (product manufacturer) could get access to the injured party’s medical records in regards to the medical treatment he received that arose from the injury that he is claiming, and the injured party (plaintiff) could get access to information about the product and what makes it particularly dangerous.

Pre-trial discovery consists of interrogatories, request for production, request for admissions, and requests for disclosure. The only form of discovery that does not allow objections is a request for disclosure. Interrogatories are basically written testimony, the lawyer drafts a question and you will answer it just like you would if you were on the witness stand, these answers are under oath. Request for admissions also ask questions to the other party, these are a set of true false questions that you are also answer under oath as true or false. Requests for production is the request for information, depending on the type of case you may have, these can range from emails, medical records, accident reports, memos, or any other non-privileged, relevant document.

Most common objections in Pre-Trial discovery:

Relevance
Common objections that occur in pre-trial discovery are that the information sought is irrelevant. Many times opposing counsel will try to seek information that is not relevant to the case, this information will be used to try to paint you in a negative light.

Privileged
an objection based on privileged information is used to protect the client from revealing information that is not admissible based on privilege. The most common privilege asserted in civil cases is attorney-client privilege, which is information that was discussed between the client and the attorney, such as trial strategies.

Overly Burdensome
Attorneys request extremely specific information from time to time. This information may be difficult to obtain and the level of difficulty or amount of time used to obtain the information will outweigh any potential benefit that the other party may get by obtaining the information.
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Proving Your Injuries to a Jury

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How to Successfully Demonstrate the Value of Your Claim by Proving the Extent of Your Injuries

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In many personal injury cases the plaintiff has the burden of proving their injuries to the jury. The plaintiff will present their case and make two types of claims. The first claim is regarding the liability of the defendant and the second claim is proving the damages for your injuries. This article will discuss proving your damages for your injuries to the jury.

There are challenges in proving damages to the jury. The best and most effective way to prove your injuries to a jury is to choose an experienced personal injury attorney that will successfully show the jury that the injuries you suffered were caused by the defendant.

What do You Have to Prove?

A lot of people think that they have to prove that the injury occurred. The goal is to prove the extent of the injury. Let’s conduct a thought experiment, if I tell you my client suffered a broken leg; what is that broken leg is worth? Think about the first number that comes to your mind for a moment. Now consider this, our firm is litigating two separate cases where the clients have suffered a broken leg. However, in case number one, the client suffered a simple fracture and only needed a cast to repair the injury, and in case number two the client’s femur was shattered. To repair client number two’s leg, he needed to have surgery, which consisted of titanium plates, multiple screws installed, and an external metal frame that was drilled in through his skin and into his bone for a period of nine months.

Now, after hearing the description of these two clients is the number that came to your mind the same for both? The point here is that not all injuries are the same and in order to get ample compensation, your attorney must do an adequate job explaining the extent of your injuries.

What Techniques are Needed to Prove Your Injuries?

There are several techniques that can be used to present your injuries to a jury. Here are a few examples an experienced attorney can use to present your injuries to a jury:

A graphic description outlined by a qualified doctor for the jury to see;
Visual aids that literally illustrates the extent of the injury; and
A journal can be presented that was made by the client and talks about the ordeal of their injuries from beginning to end.
Anything less is not sufficient.

Putting a Number on the Injuries

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A plaintiff who lets a jury guess about the cost of repairing his injuries is doing himself a disservice. The plaintiff must provide expert testimony that optimizes the extent of their injuries. For instance, for a client who suffered a broken arm, the medical bills are X amount of dollars. Because of the extent of the injuries the clients loss of income is a Y amount of dollars and also the future medical expenses that will incur are Z amount of dollars.
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What is the Preponderance of the Evidence?

Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » What is the Preponderance of the Evidence?

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Your Legal Burden of Proving Your Personal Injury Case by a Preponderance of Evidence

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In a civil personal injury lawsuit you as the plaintiff will need to prove certain things in order for your case to be successful. If you have watched courtroom television shows then you are probably familiar with the concept of ‘probable cause’ or ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ In a criminal case, the defendant must be proven guilty ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ Comparatively, in a personal injury lawsuit you must prove your case by a ‘preponderance of the evidence.’

What Does a Preponderance of the Evidence Mean?

When you file a lawsuit you have the responsibility of proving the facts that you are claiming to support your case against the defendant. The way that you will do this is by providing testimony and other types of evidence. Defining what constitutes a preponderance of the evidence can be difficult because it is different depending on the specific circumstances of your lawsuit. Preponderance is basically enough evidence to show that it is more likely than not that the claims that you are making are truthful. You have to simply show that there is more than a fifty percent chance that the injury you suffered was the fault of the defendant. In order to meet this standard in your civil case you don’t have to have a lot of evidence. It just simply must appear that what you are stating happened is probably true. To illustrate, one witness’s testimony that is credible in support of your claim could satisfy this standard for your lawsuit compared to a litany of witnesses with not so credible accounts of the event that gave rise to your claim.

How will I know if my case meets the preponderance of the evidence standard?

As stated previously, you just have to show that the defendant is more likely than not to have caused your injuries. There is no specific formula that your case must strictly abide by in order for you to satisfy this standard. You simply have to persuade the jury that the defendant is the one to blame for your injury by showing that the fair weight of the evidence is in your favor.

At the closing of your trial, the judge will specifically describe to the jurors what guidelines they should follow in analyzing whether your case has provided sufficient proof of the events that you claim to have happened. They will be given a clear description of how to evaluate whether there is a preponderance of the evidence in your favor so that they understand thoroughly. If they feel that the evidence leans towards you, even if ever so slightly, then your lawsuit may be successful. All of the things that will have been presented in trial will be considered. To illustrate, it is like a tipping point. If the weight of the information leans in your direction then you have satisfied your burden.

Evidentiary standards and the different elements that must be proven in a personal injury lawsuit can be complicated. However, they shouldn’t be if you have an attorney that is educated in successfully meeting all of the relevant criteria. The hundreds of cases that Grossman Law Offices has handled in the past has allowed our attorneys to become highly skillful and experienced in guaranteeing no burden is left unmet. If you have been injured then you have a legal right to be compensated and our attorneys will do everything in their power to make sure that you are able to get the recovery that you deserve.

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Every injury is different and therefore every lawsuit is different. Because of that reality, there are innumerable types of evidence that can meet this standard and allow your claim to be successful. If you are unable to meet this standard, however, your lawsuit will fail.

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