September 15, 2016
Personal injury law in Calgary is anything but simple. While there are certain elements of the law that may seem straightforward on the surface, the complexities of each unique personal injury case that makes its way to the Calgary courts make it very difficult for the average Calgarian to pursue on their own. Partnering with an experienced personal injury lawyer is recommended when you've been injured by someone else's negligence, in large part because of the law's many twists and turns.
That being said, we here at Cuming & Gillespie believe that everyone in Calgary ought to have some basic information about personal injury law and their rights when they've been seriously harmed by someone else's negligence. Though the information presented in this article is no substitute for consulting with a lawyer about your unique situation, these basic facts should give you a general understanding of how personal injury law works in Calgary and what it tries to achieve.
1. Most Calgary Personal Injury Cases Involve Negligence
Negligence is one of the central legal concepts at work in personal injury law, and in personal injury laws the world over. Simply put, when someone is negligent they have acted in a way that ignores risks to other people and potentially puts them in harm's way. Running through a red light, leaving a heavy item precariously perched on a high shelf, failing to fix a warped or broken floor and leaving an uneven surface—these are all examples of negligence that could ultimately lead to a personal injury lawsuit.
2. Negligence Comes from Violating a Duty of Care
The laws in place in Calgary and across Alberta establish certain "duties of care" that everyone has for one another. When we are driving, we have a "duty of care" to follow the traffic rules and to use our good judgement and driving ability to keep everyone around us safe. Business owners have a duty of care to ensure areas open to the public are free of hazards that could cause injury to shoppers or other visitors. The City of Calgary has a duty of care to maintain roads and sidewalks in a certain condition, and to fix problems promptly when they could cause injury.
It is when a duty of care has been violated that negligence has occurred.
3. Calgary Personal Injury Cases Involve Serious Injuries
Negligence and a violation of a duty of care is not grounds for a personal injury case in and of itself. In order for a personal injury case to proceed, there must be actual damages. In other words, the negligence simply created a dangerous situation; in order for there to be a "cause of action," the dangerous situation must have actually led to injury or damage of some kind. It's entirely possible to run a red light without causing any accident or injuries—the driver would still be in violation of the traffic law, but they would not be the target of a personal injury lawsuit.
Continue to Part 2 of this article for more things you should know about Calgary's personal injury laws. If you have specific questions regarding your case, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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