Personal Injury LawOn January 2, 2023 by Millerie Penbrock
Much what people think of as an everyday lawsuit is actually governed by a body of law known as tort law. More commonly and colloquially referred to a personal injury law, this legal doctrine exists so that individuals, who have been civilly wronged by another party, be that a person, company, or business, have some kind of legal recourse. In another words, they can be compensated or made whole again, of course in the financial sense.
Much of what became modern American personal injury law has its origins in the old British system of Common Law. Under common law, legal decisions were made based on precedent and the doctrine of Stare Decisis. What this means is that any ruling made against a party was based on rulings that came before it in similar matters. Such a system was held to be more fair and equitable than any other legal systems because the decisions that were made were not arbitrary and instead were forced to conform to standards set previously in other legal matters. After the American colonies became independent, American legal doctrine was based on the British system that had been promulgated in the New World during the colonial period.
The Reasonable Person Standard
One of the most important concepts in personal injury law is the reasonable person standard. That means that someone is liable to another for the injury that they have caused them if they did not act reasonably. The reasonable person standard is an objective standard meaning that it does not change depending on who the defendant is. The defendant is held accountable to his class or category. This means that a butcher is held up to a reasonable butcher standard and a mechanic is held to a reasonable mechanic standard. The major point being, did that individual act in a manner that would be construed as reasonable behavior for an ideal person in that particular situation or set of circumstances. It is important to note however that the reasonable person standard does not apply in all situations. For example, a child is not held up to a general standard, but is held to a subjective standard. That is to say it matters what that child knew and not what a child that age should have known. Professionals such as doctors, New Mexico personal injury attorneys | Dominguez law, and accountants are also held to a different set of standards.
The Role of Personal Injury Law in the American Legal System
Many individuals may bemoan the overly litigious nature of contemporary American society. However, personal injury actions play a very important role ensuring that individuals harmed by another’s careless act of negligence are not forced to endure excess hardship and are instead afforded the protection that they deserve.
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