Whether you're expecting it or not, being served with a lawsuit can be a shocking experience. You may try to read the lawsuit but have problems with some unfamiliar terms and a lot of legalese. When you know that someone is making you the target of a suit, you need to do one thing – speak to a personal injury lawyer. In the meantime, read below so that you can get ready to fight the lawsuit and win.
Why the Elements of a Good Case Matter
Once you figure out what it is you're supposed to have done, you can better understand your chances at fighting the lawsuit. No matter what type of harm is alleged to have been done, the case has to meet the three elements demonstrated below (in plain language) to be successful in court. After all, anyone can file a lawsuit but not everyone can triumph in court. For the other side (the plaintiffs) to win the case, these elements must be met.
1. Almost everyone owes others a duty to care. The other side has to show that you had a duty not to cause them harm. For example, if you're driving on the road, you owe other drivers not to cause a wreck.
2. When harm comes to someone, they must be able to prove that they were harmed. For example, if someone sues you for libel, the plaintiffs have to show that your alleged libelous words were not true.
3. The final facet involves the harmful act itself and the resulting harm. If no injury occurred, it matters little whether or not your actions caused it. The alleged victim has to show that they incurred damages. In a car accident, that might include lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and more.
Elements in Real Life
To further explore these elements at work in real life, take a look at these examples of accidents or harm done that may not meet one or more of the three above elements:
- A pedestrian is taking a walk and a tree limb falls on them right in front of your house. The pedestrian files suit against you for failing to maintain your property and causing a hazard. However, it turns out that the tree was located in an area that falls under the jurisdiction of the city. This means that the homeowner had no responsibility for maintaining the tree (element #1).
- You are sued because of a Facebook post in which you said a person got fired from their job because they were stealing from the company. Upon further investigations by your personal injury lawyer, however, the real reason for the firing turned out to be a planned lay-off (element #2).
- You are sued because you hit another driver at an intersection. Although you are at-fault for the accident, the other driver did not seek medical treatment and has no proof of their injuries (element #3)
To learn more about defending yourself when sued, speak to a personal injury attorney.