There are certain trends expected to influence personal injury law in 2021. The legal industry, as a whole, had a difficult time adjusting to the sudden outbreak of the global pandemic. Much like any other sector, legal professionals had to adapt to the unfortunate circumstances.
As courts were forced to close, hearings and trials were conducted through videoconferencing applications to observe physical distancing and other safety guidelines. It prompted an advance within a highly traditional and static industry. For instance, the adoption widespread adoption of legal technology became essential for the operation of legal matters.
More than this, the current situation also brought about significant changes and the creation of new laws. As more opportunities for negligence and areas for liability arise, the personal injury industry, in particular, will be seeing a very different future than the one they had planned for.
A Matter of Negligence
Personal injury law is a specific civil law area that concerns itself with victims of accidents or social wrongs. It seeks to demand monetary compensation for the injured party from the person responsible for the injury.
Usually, personal injury cases require a much lower burden of proof compared to a criminal case. A particular action that caused injury to an individual can bring about a personal injury and criminal case. However, while a defendant may be acquitted from criminal charges, a plaintiff can still recover from a personal injury case.
The primary objective of lawsuits against personal injury is to recoup monetary compensation rather than sentence a defendant. In these cases, personal injury lawyers ensure that another party indeed caused an injury and that fair compensation should be awarded to the plaintiff.
The promise of a vaccine promises a return to some degree of normalcy sooner rather than later. However, the post-pandemic world will be riddled with changes that many professionals did not expect. The same is true for the legal profession, especially for the personal injury industry. These are the most prominent trends that might reshape the future of personal injuries.
The Reasonable Person
A legal standard commonly used within personal injury cases is the reasonable person standard. Hypothetically, a person that behaves in a legally appropriate manner, is regarded as a reasonable person. Those who fail to adhere to this standard are considered negligent and may be held for their actions that can cause damage or injury.
After more than a year of enduring the global pandemic, the unfortunate circumstances have made people less compliant. Courts might have to rethink how questionable behaviors throughout the pandemic can result in personal injuries. This also means that they will have to reconsider the reasonable person standard, which is vital for personal injury cases.
Various parties may be involved in a personal injury case related to vehicle accidents. Responsibility can fall upon the manufacturer, a passenger, a pedestrian, or even a government-related entity that failed to maintain the road. More often than not, however, liability will usually fall upon the drivers for distracted driving.
The advent of new vehicles, especially autonomous vehicles, continues to evolve how individuals drive. As a result of these new experiences, there is also an increasing need to determine a driver’s responsibilities in vehicles that can operate with some degree of autonomy. It’s important for the law to reinforce the delineation of liability between the responsibility of automakers and drivers.
Supply Chain Liability
The sudden outbreak of the global pandemic drastically changed consumer habits. It increased people’s reliance on different logistics companies that offer the convenience of delivering products directly to their homes. However, this can also present certain challenges for personal injuries caused by defective products.
Injuries caused by defective products are also common in negligence cases. Companies have to protect their customers from any harm that may result from their products. As the supply chain and logistics companies continue to grow, it also opens up new areas for liability. Determining these areas will be essential for personal injury cases caused by product defects.
Professionals within the legal industry are always expected to be adaptable, whether in creating new laws or interpretation of existing ones. Regardless, the coming year has a lot in store for the legal profession, especially the personal injury industry.
As the promise of the post-pandemic era draws closer, it will also bring changes along with it. Some changes might be drastic, while others will be more subtle. In the end, the legal industry will continue to evolve, and these are just some possible advancements to prepare for.