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Use of circumstantial evidence in personal liability cases

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2015 | Premises Liability

As New Jersey residents may know, establishing negligence is an intricate part of a personal injury lawsuit. Generally, the causal relationship between the injury and another person’s negligence must be established showing how he or she deviated from an expected duty of care and caused the injury. Proof might be difficult in some circumstances, and a doctrine called res ipsa loquitur may be used instead.

This doctrine allows circumstantial evidence to be included to infer negligence. For instance, if a plaintiff is bitten by a neighbor’s dog, he or she must prove the neighbor negligently did not lock the gate, allowing the dog to leave the yard. Using res ipsa loquitur, the plaintiff may insist that the dog roaming the neighborhood proves the gate was not locked. The circumstance speaks for itself.

The use of circumstantial evidence helps the court determine if the correlation between the event and the defendant’s alleged negligence is likely. The use of circumstantial evidence in premises liability cases demands that certain parameters be shown. The plaintiff must establish that an event does not normally happen. When it does, it is caused by a negligent act and not caused by the injured party, and the defendant had a duty to prevent the injury. However, the defendant failed in that duty, which caused a situation that resulted in harm or injury. This shows a causal relationship between the negligent act and the injury and damages.

When someone is injured by the negligence of another, the individual may suffer financial damage in addition to physical injury. The individual may wish to recover pecuniary damage associated with loss of employment and medical care as well as pain and suffering. An attorney may help by reviewing the accident and filing a personal injury lawsuit.