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What does negligence, fault and liability mean in injury law?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2021 | Car Accidents

Legalese, or legal speak, can sound almost like a mystical new language to those not employed in the legal industry. We can assure you that this is not the case.

Law professionals speak and write in this manner to ensure that the language used in our industry remains consistent. The language is precise because certain words have significant — and specific — meaning when used in legal settings.

Information to absorb – not data to decode

Three terms commonly used in New Jersey accident and injury law are negligence, fault and liability. To injured victims, these terms seem to have like meanings. In injury law, the terms are related, but they have separate meanings:

  • Negligence: Carelessness, or the failure to act with the judgment or prudence that a reasonable individual would in the same circumstances.
  • Fault: Blame, or the responsibility for a bad event, act or situation such as the injuries suffered in a crash.
  • Liability: The legal responsibility or obligation to a party injured in a motor vehicle accident.

You can easily connect these terms to develop an idea of how accident and injury law works. Here is an example.

  • Bob is speeding down a road while texting on his phone. You are traveling in the opposite direction when Bob swerves out of his lane and slams into your car, leaving you injured. Bob acted with negligence behind the wheel (speeding and texting) and is at fault for the crash. As such, he is legally liable for your injuries.

New Jersey is a no-fault state, meaning that you must file an insurance claim with your provider first when seeking compensation, regardless of fault. It also means that your right to a lawsuit may be limited unless you suffered a permanent injury.

We recommend learning more about accident compensation law if you suffered harm in a New Jersey crash.