For the most part, you probably already know a lot about personal injury lawsuits as the average citizen. With so many people now holding those responsible accountable when they get injured, the discussion on personal injury is an ongoing one that comes up a lot more than it used to. Where things get tricky is understanding the terms and technical jargon used in these cases. One of the biggest questions asked is: what is the difference between liability and damages? According to the American Bar Association:
Every tort claim, regardless of its basis, whether intentional, negligence, or strict liability, has two basic issues—liability and damages.
With this in mind, you know that pretty much every personal injury case will involve both liability and damages. Here are a few things to help you get a better understanding of the two very different terms.
Liability is more relative to how the accident happened.
If you go see a personal injury attorney and they start talking about liability in your claim, there's no reason to feel confused. Basically, liability means fault or responsibility for the accident. Therefore, if your attorney says something like: The defendant has a liability to pay for your injuries. What that means is because the person was at fault for your injuries, it is their responsibility to cover your costs accrued.
In some situations, liability isn't as clear-cut. For example, you may know you were injured at a place of business, but who was liable for keeping you safe while there? Or was your injury the direct result of another customer's negligence?
Damages is a term more relative to what you suffered because of the accident.
Damages is a legal term used to describe what happened to you as a result of an accident. Damages could be both physical and emotional, and sometimes damages are purely financial. You may be dealing with damages like:
- lost wages and lost time from work
- loss of mobility and ongoing medical care
- emotional stress because of your injury or because of the accident
In any situation, the individual or entity who is found liable for the damages you have incurred is who you will be filing a suit against. Of course, in a personal injury claim, damages do have to be proven to one degree or another. For example, if you claim emotional distress as one of your damages, you have to find a way to give evidence that shows your emotional challenges since the accident.
For more information, contact your preferred personal injury attorney services.