One of the most difficult aspects of a personal injury case can be proving negligence or negligent acts were the cause of serious injuries and damages. In many cases, accidents are simply that, accidents. In other cases, such as a drunk driving accident, it can be easily established that the act of criminal negligence is what caused the accident and the person who should be held liable for the damages. There are instances, however, when the negligent acts of another are not quite as black and white, yet the responsible party still should be held accountable.
If someone else’s actions caused you physical harm, you might have a valid personal injury claim. However, you need to show the other party was negligent before you can collect any compensation. Depending on the circumstances and type of accident, the claims process can be complicated. There are four elements to proving negligence in your personal injury claim.
Proving Negligence: Legal Duty
The first element of negligence is to show the defendant owed you some legal duty. For example, business owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe and free from hazards by ensuring adequate building security and maintaining the property from hazards like jagged concrete or slippery, wet floors. Drivers owe others on the road a duty to act with reasonable care and follow traffic laws. Doctors, nursing homes and other medical professionals owe their patients a duty to act with a standard level of care.
Proving Negligence: Breach of Duty
In this element of proving negligence, you must be able to prove that the average person, given the circumstance and knowledge that the defendant had at the time, would have known that someone might have been injured as a result of his or her actions, And furthermore, the average person then would have acted differently than the defendant did in that situation. For example, the average person likely knows that drunk driving is cause for many injuries; or, a business may know that they need to follow certain safety guidelines in order to protect customers from injury.
Proving Negligence: Causation
To prove causation, you need to show that the other party’s breach of duty is what caused your injuries. Courts look at whether the defendant’s actions produced foreseeable consequences. In the drunk driving example, if a drunk driver is involved in a car accident and is found at-fault, the car accident victim can more easily prove that the accident, caused by the drunk driver, is the cause of the injuries. Causation can be tricky when dealing with random events or acts of nature, as the event that caused the injury must be reasonably foreseeable.
Proving Negligence: Damages
Once you establish the defendant had a legal duty, that duty was breached, and the breach of duty was the cause of your injuries, you need to show damages. Damages often come in the form of medical bills and lost wages but can also include things like pain and suffering. When you’re seriously injured, it’s also important to recover future lost earnings or medical care that may be expected down the line.
Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, Experts in Negligence Cases
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that you believe was caused by another person's negligence, contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law and speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Our firm has an in-depth knowledge of personal injury laws, we have extensive experience in successfully representing a wide range of personal injury cases, and we pride ourselves in being able to provide clients with the passionate representation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.