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What is Negligence?

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If you have been injured in an accident, you have likely heard the word “negligence” thrown around. After all, negligence is a foundational legal concept in the area of personal injury law. Those who have been injured by the negligence of another can seek legal recourse in the form of compensation from the negligent party. But what does negligence actually mean? We’ll take a closer look at that here.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal theory used in most personal injury cases. In order to hold a party responsible for the harm you have suffered in an accident, you will need to prove that they were negligent. To successfully bring a claim under the theory of negligence, you must be able to prove the four elements of negligence which are: duty, breach, causation, and harm. Here is a more detailed breakdown of what these elements entail:

  • Duty: The defendant must have owed the injured party (the plaintiff) a legal duty under the circumstances of the case. A legal duty may be established by the relationship of the plaintiff to the defendant, such as a doctor-patient relationship. Alternatively, the legal duty may be established by the situation, such as when drivers are sharing the road and have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and with a particular level of due care.
  • Breach: The defendant must have failed to uphold, or “breached,” the legal duty they owed to the plaintiff by acting or failing to act in a particular way. In most situations, the court will employ a “reasonably prudent person” standard to see if the defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff. 
  • Causation: The defendant’s failure to uphold the legal duty they owed to the plaintiff must have been the cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
  • Damages: The plaintiff must have been harmed by the defendant’s breach of their legal duty.

Upon successfully proving that the defendant was negligent in causing the plaintiff’s damages, the plaintiff can recover compensation for those damages from the defendant. In a personal injury case, damages may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • The cost of future medical care
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

Every element of negligence, however, must be proven and will require supporting evidence. To support your negligence claim, evidence gathered will include documentation of the circumstances surrounding the accident as well as proof of your resulting injuries. Evidence in a personal injury case will often include:

  • Accident reports
  • Video footage (such as footage recorded by surveillance cameras)
  • Photos taken at the accident scene
  • Eye witness testimony
  • Medical records

Personal Injury Attorney

Proving negligence to bring a successful personal injury claim can be complicated. After you have suffered an injury in an accident caused by the negligence of another, let dedicated personal injury attorney Michael LoGiudice take on the legal fight for you to recover full and fair compensation for you. Contact us today.

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