Three core concepts govern everything else that occurs in injury law: fault, liability, and damages. A personal injury lawyer has to be able to prove how each factor applies in a case to prevail. Look at each one so you can understand what a personal injury attorney will try to do for you.


The question of who or what is to blame for an incident occurring is central to injury law. The standard for assigning fault in a case is usually dictated by what's known as the most proximate cause. For example, if an employee at a convenience store left a puddle alone for hours after being told about it, the store might be found at fault if a customer slipped and fell.

Conversely, many defendants will try to show that either someone else or an outside force caused an incident. The classic version of this defense is what's known as force majeure, or a greater power like the weather or government. If a car accident occurred during a heavy ice storm, for example, this sort of defense might succeed.


It might sound like the issue of liability has already been solved once fault has been assigned. However, it's not enough for someone to be the most proximate cause. In addition, someone must be liable according to the law. Drivers are usually considered liable for causing accidents because they take on a legally recognized responsibility when they get into a car, for example.

A good-faith argument may defuse liability. First responders, nurses, and doctors are generally not liable for injuries caused while using best practices to attempt to save someone's life.

The flip side to this is that some cases carry what's called strict liability. This means that once something happens, it doesn't matter what else occurred in the case. Cases like this usually involve dangerous things, such as explosives and wild animals.


It's also not enough that someone can be shown to be liable and at fault. Additionally, there must be meaningful damages involved. That means there has to be enough harm that a reasonable cash value was lost due to the harm that occurred.

Suppose someone punched you but they didn't leave so much as a bruise. It would be harder to assert a claim of damages because remedying the situation didn't require medical care. Some states might recognize damages in the form of emotional trauma, but many require physical harm before they'll allow this logic.

To learn more, contact a personal injury lawyer.