The principle of “negligence” is a key element to any personal
injury claim. In simple terms, negligence is a legal term to describe
carelessness or disregard for the safety of others. In other words, if
you place others at risk with your actions, regardless of whether you
know you are doing it, you will be considered “negligent,”
and you will be held liable for damages as a result of their injuries.
Elements of Negligence
Demonstrating negligence to the court can be tricky. In order to prove
that the plaintiff in a personal injury case (the injured party) is deserving
of compensation, they must show that the four elements of negligence were present.
Duty: The plaintiff must show that the defendant (the allegedly responsible
party) owed them a duty of care in the circumstances in which the injury
occurred. Individuals do not always owe others a legal duty of care, so
those who are not required to care for someone else cannot be held responsible
if the other person were to be injured near them. For example, a driver
has a duty to make sure they do not collide with any other drivers or
cause an accident, but an uninvolved motorist who drives past the scene
of an accident cannot be held liable if they don’t stop and help.
Breach: The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached that legal
duty with their actions (or inaction) in a way that a “reasonably
prudent person” would not have done. In simple terms, this is essentially
the court asking whether or not an average person should have known the
risk their actions had on the safety of others. If the defendant took
all reasonable precautionary steps and an accident still occurs, then
they likely won’t be held responsible for damages.
Causation: The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions actually
caused their injury. This essentially helps prevent defendants from being
held liable for injuries that are sustained as a result of something entirely
unrelated to the accident. Say an individual slips on a wet floor and
twists their ankle. If they attempt to sue for a wrist injury that occurred
while at the doctor’s office for their ankle, the initial wet floor’s
owner could not be held liable for the wrist injury.
Damages: The plaintiff must show that they were harmed and suffered damages
as a result of their injuries caused by the defendant’s actions.
In essence, this is simply showing that the injury victim suffered some
form of a loss as a result of their injuries. This is usually a financial
loss (in the form of medical bills, lost income from missed work, etc.)
but can also include things like pain and suffering, emotional scarring, and more.
Have you been injured in an accident through no fault of your own? A Martin
County injury attorney can help you demonstrate the negligence of the
individual at fault and work to help you obtain the compensation you are
entitled to. Attorney
Lauri J. Goldstein and her skilled team have more than 75 years of combined experience helping
those who are injured seek the financial relief they deserve, and may
be able to help you too. We understand the frustration and difficulty
that can come from dealing with a big insurance company, and we provide
a valuable and knowledgeable representation throughout every step of your claim.
Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates today at 866-675-4427 to start
your claim with a
free case evaluation!