The Difficulty of Determining Liability
One of the first and most important aspects of litigation is determining the person or the group of people responsible for the action at hand. In an accident, liability can be difficult to determine. In court cases or lawsuits involving environmental hazards, liability is easier to discern because it is the owner of a premises’ job to maintain a safe environment.
Determining liability is important because a person who does something negligent or wrong must be held responsible in a fair criminal justice system — the goal of everyone involved in a legal dispute. In this article, I discuss the difficulty of figuring out who is responsible for something.
Who Did It?
One of the first barriers to liability is understanding who is to blame for certain, fundamental actions. For example, in a hit-and-run case, it may be impossible to discern who is liable for the damage your car incurs. However, in an example of a person being injured on a construction site, liability is more difficult to ascertain — especially if there are conflicting reports about how closely precautions were followed.
One step a lawyer can take is to draw up a list of every possible person involved in an accident, crime, or injury. Interviews, depositions, witness statements, documents, and other evidence can assist lawyers in their attempts to make this list of involved people. If you are hiring a lawyer to prove that another person is responsible for a crime or your injury, be sure to let them know everything you can remember so that the lawyer can piece the scene together more easily,
After every person involved is known, then working through the list methodically is next. By contacting every relevant person, a lawyer can discern how liable a person was in getting injured or causing an accident. This may mean additional interviews or research more specifically focused on ascertaining liability.
Context of the Incident
The location and timing of the crime or accident is also a heavy factor. A unique example would be an attempt to prosecute a bartender who over-serves and thus contributes to a drunk driving accident.
If the accident were to take place on a Saturday night as compared to a Wednesday early evening, the likelihood of over-serving playing a role (and thus making the bartender liable) in an accident is probably higher on Saturday, as that is the time bartenders are likely serving a chaotic throng of people.
Context is also important as it relates to the previously-mentioned premises liability cases. If a store is known to mop its floors excessively, and not take precautions such as warning signs or ventilation to assist in drying, it is likely impactful to a lawyer’s attempt to hold the restaurant accountable for an injury resulting from the wet floor.
Even when context and identities are known, liability is still a tough nut to crack. If you are in the middle of a case where there is disputed liability, you should only rely on an experienced or proven Lexington injury lawyer to determine responsibility. Do your research into capable attorneys with a history of getting to the bottom of messy cases.