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!