How to Determine Personal Injury Liability

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People’s lives change drastically after a traumatic event, and unfortunately, accidents can happen to anyone. Knowing there was no fault of your own can make it worse. So, whether you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall on someone else’s property, or injured because of a dangerous consumer product, the question of liability will arise.

Determining who was at fault or legally liable can be a complicated process. In most cases, the matter will come down to proving that the defendant’s actions were reckless or negligent. Proving fault and liability can be done in various ways and may be essential in deciding how much compensation you receive. Working with qualified Atlanta injury and accident attorneys who know how to handle your case successfully is vital.

Explaining Negligence

As a legal term, negligence is used to describe conduct that falls below the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in a given situation. To prevail in a negligence claim, you must prove that:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • The defendant violated that duty of care
  • That violation caused harm to you
  • You suffered actual damages as a result

Elements of negligence

In Georgia, a personal injury attorney must demonstrate the existence of an identifiable duty, a breach of that duty, injury to the victim, and a causal relationship between the defendant’s breach and the victim’s injury.


Each person has a duty to act or refrain from acting in a certain way. For example, to prove a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a legal duty to use reasonable care in a particular situation. Legal responsibility is a legal obligation to avoid a specific type of harm to the plaintiff. Legal duties are typically created by statute, common law, or contract in personal injury cases.

For instance, a doctor has an obligation to provide their patients with adequate and appropriate medical care. Or the driver of a car near is expected to follow specific road rules, such as stopping at red lights and driving at an appropriate speed.

Breach of Duty

After the court determines a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, it will look at whether the defendant failed to meet that duty. Before deciding whether the defendant was negligent, the court will first examine the possible risks involved in their conduct to see if any of these risks were foreseeable. If so, the defendant might be held responsible for failing to take action to protect others from these foreseeable risks.

To determine how a reasonably prudent person would act under similar circumstances, the court might focus on all relevant facts and circumstances, including what the average person would know about the risk involved. With that said, for example, the defendant may be liable if a reasonable person had known that someone might be hurt and acted differently.


If the defendant did indeed breach their duty of care, the court would then consider whether this breach was a cause of your harm. This means that the court will determine whether the violation occurred in a way that directly led to your injury. For example, suppose you can show that the defendant’s failure to abide by their legal duty caused your injuries. In that case, you will likely be compensated for your damages by way of a liability judgment or order.

For example, a surgeon might be negligent in a medical malpractice case if the plaintiff developed a severe infection after knee replacement surgery. But, to win, the plaintiff needs to show the infection emanated from the negligent surgical procedure. If the plaintiff developed an infection after knee replacement surgery from a previous injury unrelated to the operation, this would not be the surgeon’s fault.


Before the court hands down its decision, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered an actual monetary loss due to the defendant’s actions. A plaintiff would need to prove these damages with evidence, which could come from medical records, past injury claims, witnesses, photos of the damage caused by the accident, and more. Damages include compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages or loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, physical impairment, and more.

Once the plaintiff has established liability on the defendant’s part, they will be awarded monetary damages. Georgia has a limit on non-economic damages and a cap on medical malpractice. But your injury lawyer will know what to do to get you and your loved ones the payouts you deserve.

Types of Liability in a Personal Injury Claim

The three types of liability are negligence, intentional liability, and strict liability.

  • Negligence Liability – Negligence is the most common cause of action in personal injury claims. Negligence occurs when one person’s careless actions or inaction cause another party to suffer harm. For example, if a driver runs a red light and T-bones another car, the driver who ran the red light is negligent.
  • Intentional Liability – Intentional or malicious acts are also grounds for compensation, although compensation is often limited under these circumstances. For example, an office worker cannot claim damages for emotional distress if her supervisor yells at her. However, if he physically assaults her by hitting her across the face with his fist, she can sue for damages like medical bills and pain and suffering because the assault was intentional and out of anger, not discipline.
  • Strict Liability – Strict liability claims are used frequently in injury cases, particularly those involving defective products. Strict liability means the defendant is responsible for the harm even if the plaintiff was negligent. For example, if a faulty product causes an accident, the manufacturer is still liable no matter how well the product was designed or manufactured.

Common Liability Scenarios

Slip & Fall Accident

Many slips and fall accidents occur in public places, such as on city sidewalks or parking lots. If you’ve suffered an injury due to a slippery surface or uneven walkway, then the property owner might be held liable for your damages. For example, suppose you’re visiting a friend who has a collection of glass vases on display, and one of the vases falls over and hits you.

In that case, you could potentially sue your friend because they knew about the vases and should have taken action to ensure your safety. Other instances include a grocery store that could be held responsible for a slip and fall accident in their parking lot. Likewise, a hotel may be responsible for a fall inside its lobby.

Car Accident

Each state has different laws about this, but typically it means following traffic laws — like stopping for red lights and stop signs — and using reasonable care while driving. If the other driver broke traffic laws and their actions caused your injuries, they should be held responsible for those injuries. For example, a drunk driver speeds through a red light and hits you as you’re waiting at the intersection. He would be considered negligent because he was speeding (breaking traffic laws), and his actions caused your injuries.

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice claim may be brought against a medical care provider or healthcare facility if their actions or inactions are deemed to have caused your injuries. These injuries can be physical and psychological, both of which are grounds for an award of damages.

Medical negligence can occur due to inadequate pre-surgery preparation, defective surgical equipment, misdiagnosis, post-operative complications, incorrect medications, surgical mistakes, and more.

Product Liability 

Product liability is a legal claim against a manufacturer or seller of a product that caused injury or damage. It can apply to any merchandise, but it’s most common for defective products that cause personal injury or property damage, such as cars, appliances, and medical devices.

For instance, a phone company launched an affordable phone that unfortunately had a faulty battery. This caused the battery to overheat or explode, causing injury to several users. As a result, the company recalled the defective mobile phones and is liable for the medical expenses of the injured users.

Dog Bite

Suppose a little girl is playing outside her house with her dogs and her next-door neighbor’s dog bites her. The girl is rushed to the hospital because the dog’s bite resulted in severe injuries. The next-door neighbor is responsible for the damage since she should have exercised proper control over her dog.

Legal Help is Here for You

There is a lot on the line regarding your Atlanta personal injury case. By working with the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, you can be sure that you have a lawyer who will answer your questions during your initial free consultation and provide you with the right legal advice. We’re an award-winning law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, with extensive experience and an excellent track record of settlements and verdicts.

Our injury and accident attorneys will help you with car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, defective products, or other accidents caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. We’ve helped many clients recover money for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages after an auto accident. At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, we value your time and understand your concerns. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (833) 254-2923, so we can get started immediately to protect your rights.

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Frequently Asked Questions

After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!

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Help Negotiating with Insurance Carriers

To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.

Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?

The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.

Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm

Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.

What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?

During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process. Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today. We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.

Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.