One of the important factors in any personal injury claim is determine “liability,” or responsibility for the injury. Typically, personal injury claims will involve situations in which one person was negligent, and that negligence establishes that person’s liability for the injuries caused to other people in the incident. Often, that negligence is crystal clear. If one car is stopped waiting at a red light and is suddenly rear-ended by a second vehicle, the driver of that second vehicle will almost always be the person found “negligent” or “at fault” for causing the collision.
But this isn’t always the case. Imagine, for example, a driver preparing to enter a roadway from a parking lot — there appears to be an opening in traffic for him to safely enter, but as he drives forward he collides with another vehicle that was speeding down the road. In this situation, the driver entering the road should have taken more time to observe traffic to be certain it was safe to move forward, but the speeding driver should also have been operating his vehicle within the speed limit.
Or consider a pedestrian in rainy weather who is running toward a store entrance to get out of the rain. Unfortunately, the store’s employees forgot to put out rainmats at the entrance that day, so the pedestrian reaches the wet, slippery walkway and suddenly falls and is injured. The employees obviously forgot an important safety device, but the pedestrian herself probably shouldn’t have been running in conditions where the walkway could forseeably be especially slippery.