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Causation is one of the essential requirements in proving a case of negligence in a Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit. Without the element of causation, a defendant’s breach of a duty of care toward the plaintiff will not result in a finding of liability, even if the plaintiff can prove substantial damages.

It works like this: the plaintiff must be able to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, not only that he or she was owed a duty of care, that this duty was breached, and that he or she suffered harm but also that his or her damages were caused by the defendant’s actions or in actions. However, “cause” or “causation” is a term of art in the world of negligence law. Something can be the actual cause of harm without necessarily being the legal cause of such damages.

Public policy factors into the development of this area of the law. Would it be wise to hold a defendant liable for a “freak accident,” even if, technically, his or her breach of duty resulted in damages to the plaintiff? Probably not. Somewhere between such occurrences and conduct that is so likely to result in harm as to be considered intentional – and possibly subject to punitive damages – lies the type of conduct that the principles of negligence are designed to govern.

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In a Cape Cod medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving not only that the defendant healthcare professional breached the standard of care that applied to the situation at hand but also that this breach of care was the proximate cause of the damages about which the plaintiff complains. Sometimes, damages are readily apparent, and the real fight is about whether there was negligent care. However, this is not always so.

Sometimes, a mistake was obviously made, but the doctor insists that his or her error did not harm the patient in any meaningful way. This argument is especially prevalent in cases involving a missed diagnosis.

In such cases, the plaintiff believes that, had a proper diagnosis been made in a timely fashion, he or she would have had more treatment options and/or a better outcome of the illness that the doctor somehow missed. In turn, the physician is likely to claim that the illness – and the ultimate result thereof – was bound to happen anyway, such that his or her mistake should not result in monetary compensation to the patient or his or her family.

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There’s a secret that insurance companies don’t want you to know. In almost all Cape Cod negligence cases, one or both parties have insurance of some type. For example, in a car accident case, the defendant most likely has a policy of motor vehicle accident liability insurance, and his or her defense is being paid for by that insurance company. If a verdict is entered against him or her, it is the insurance company – not the defendant – that will actually pay out the money for the judgment.

Insurance companies want you to believe this legal fiction because they believe that, if a juror is aware that the verdict will be paid by an insurance company instead of a real person, the juror will be more likely to find in the plaintiff’s favor – and more likely to award a more sizable verdict if they don’t think the defendant will be paying the verdict out of his or her own pocket.

Sometimes, an insurance company may actually be the plaintiff in a lawsuit and still want its identity to be kept secret. For example, if an insurance company pays out a claim, it may then file a subrogation claim against the person or persons who caused the loss. Even then, the insurance company doesn’t want you to know of its involvement in the case because of the fear that such knowledge would taint the outcome against it.

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Most Cape Cod car accident cases focus primarily on the personal injury aspect of the accident at hand. However, there is another potential claim in most car crash cases: property damage.

The reason that we rarely hear about the property damage aspect of a plaintiff’s case is that such claims are usually relatively small compared to personal injury claims, and, because less money is at stake, more apt to settle out of court. This is often true even when the personal injury portion of the case is highly contested and eventually proceeds to trial.

In a recent federal case, however, there was a rare exception to this general rule. When you consider the value of one of the vehicles involved in the collision – a Lamborghini worth over $100,000 – it is easy to understand why the insurance companies decided to fight about which was responsible for paying for the car, all the way to the federal court of appeals.

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Landowners and those who own businesses can be held liable for injuries on their property in many instances. Similarly, those who own animals – dogs in particular (although not exclusively) – can also be held accountable for injuries inflicted on others under certain circumstances.

Of course, not every encounter between humans and animals will result in a finding of negligence against the owner of the dog or other animal in a Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit. It all depends upon the particular encounter and whether the pet owner’s negligence contributed to harm to the plaintiff.

In cases in which an animal’s owner is held liable for a person’s injuries from a bite or other harm, the injured individual may be entitled to substantial money damages. This can include medical expenses, lost earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering, among other things.

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Under Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation laws, employees who are hurt on the job and unable to work as a result are entitled to certain benefits. Included among these is the right to temporary total disability payments.

In order to receive temporary total disability benefits, the employee must be able to show that he or she suffered a total incapacity for work during the relevant time period. For employees who qualify, the employer (typically through its workers’ compensation insurance company) is obligated to pay the employee a benefit equal to 60% of his or her average weekly wage.

Of course, such payments are subject to minimums and maximums, and there is a time limit on the receipt of such payments. Under the current statutory scheme, an employee may not receive more than 156 weeks of temporary total disability payments.

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A Cape Cod wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit cannot succeed unless the plaintiff is able to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident victim’s death or physical harm. This must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, via legally admissible evidence.

Of course, this assumes that the case ultimately makes its way into a courtroom and is tried in front of a judge and jury. It is important to note that there are a lot of steps that may occur before this happens.

First and foremost, the court in which the suit is filed must have jurisdiction over the case. This encompasses both the right to adjudicate the subject matter of the suit and also power over the particular defendants, a concept known as “personal jurisdiction.”

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There can be several different defendants in a Cape Cod wrongful death lawsuit. This can include individuals, businesses, and even governmental entities. While many of the same rules apply regardless of the identity of particular defendants, sometimes there must be a different approach to a certain defendant.

For instance, claims against the government proceed differently in many situations, as compared to cases involving only private citizens or businesses. Sometimes, the claims period is shorter, or notice must be given by a certain date. This can effectively mean that an injured person must act much more quickly when suing a governmental entity.

Also, the government may be immune from certain types of lawsuits. Even where a suit is allowed, there can be limitations on the amount of money damages that can be awarded to a claimant in some cases involving the government.

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Doctors and nurses make mistakes. Sometimes, these errors in judgment cause serious harm to patients. When this happens, the injured individual has a right to seek fair compensation through a Cape Cod medical malpractice claim.

However, it is important to note that medical malpractice cases can be difficult to pursue. The insurance companies that represent healthcare facilities and medical professionals have plenty of financial resources to fight a finding of liability, if possible.

It is important to consult a knowledgeable malpractice attorney if you believe that you have a medical negligence claim. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can help you review your medical records, consult an appropriate expert witness to render an opinion regarding whether an act of malpractice occurred, and, if the case proceeds to trial, explain the complex medical issues to the jury in a way that they can understand.

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The plaintiff in a Cape Cod medical malpractice case not only bears the burden of proof at trial, but he or she also has several obligations in the pre-litigation phase of the case. Generally, the first step is a careful review of the injured or deceased person’s medical records by an expert in the field of medicine at issue.

However, the inquiry does not end there. The expert must be prepared to give a formal opinion as to any deviations of care on the part of the patient’s treating physicians and how those deviations affected the patient. Ultimately, the expert may be called upon to defend those opinions in a court of law.

Because medical malpractice cases have several special requirements, it is important that the plaintiff be represented by experienced, highly qualified legal counsel. It is a given that the doctor, nurse, or hospital will have a team of legal professionals on his or her side of the case, and the plaintiff’s attorney must be prepared to wage a vigorous fight at trial, if necessary.

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