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What Is Negligence?

injury caused from accident

Have you heard that if you have been injured due to the negligence of another that you can seek compensation from the at-fault party for the harm you suffered? It is true. The law provides that those injured due to the negligent actions or inaction of someone else can pursue compensation for damages sustained. What, however, does negligence actually mean in personal injury law? We will discuss more on that here.

What Is Negligence?

When pursuing a personal injury claim under a theory of negligence, there are several elements a plaintiff, the party bringing the claim, will need to prove to be awarded compensation. In fact, four specific elements of negligence must be satisfied for the claim to be successful. The elements are:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation 
  • Damages

Duty refers to a legal obligation that exists between two parties. Whether due to a relationship or a situation, oftentimes, we owe a duty to another person to act with a certain level of care. For instance, when we are driving, we owe others on the road a duty of care by taking reasonable steps towards keeping ourselves and everyone else safe on the road. This means things like not driving while distracted and complying with traffic laws. Other times, we owe or are owed a duty because of a certain relationship. For instance, doctors owe their patients a duty of care.

Breach means that a person has failed to uphold his or her legal duty of care that was owed to someone else. This could mean that a person violated a traffic law and caused a car crash as a result. This could also mean that a doctor failed to provide a patient with the level of care that a similarly situated doctor would have provided under comparable circumstances.

Causation is also a critical element of negligence. A negligent act, a breach of a duty owed, does not in and of itself mean that a person is entitled to compensation. The negligent act must have been the direct and foreseeable cause of harm sustained by a person, the plaintiff to the action. This brings us to the final negligence element, which is damages. The breach of the duty owed must have been the cause of actual damages to the plaintiff. Damages in a personal injury action focus on compensating the plaintiff in a way that he or she is “made whole.” This means that the plaintiff can be compensated for expenses and harm incurred due to negligence. Medical bills, cost of future medical care, lost income, loss of future earning ability, and pain and suffering are all compensable in a personal injury claim.

Personal Injury Attorney

Have you suffered as a result of the negligent action or inaction of another? If so, having trusted legal counsel by your side can help you get the compensation you deserve. Attorney Michael LoGiudice remains committed to fighting for his injured clients. Contact us today.

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