What is negligence in personal injury?
If you have been injured in an accident, you are probably facing some pretty daunting financial challenges. From medical bills to car repair costs, accidents are expensive. If someone else is at fault for the accident, these costs sting even more.
When you are injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, you are able to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your expenses related to the accident. In this claim, you will have the burden of proving that the other person was negligent.
The Critical Elements in a Negligence Case
Proving negligence is not as straightforward as a simple “whodunit.” There are four important elements of a negligence claim that must be proven in order to collect damages. If you were injured in an auto accident, your negligence claim would need to prove the following:
- Duty: Drivers have a legal duty to driver in a manner that will not cause harm to others; this is usually made fairly easy by following traffic laws such as speed limits and traffic lights. It is easy to prove that both you and the other driver in your case had a duty to each other as well as the general public to drive safely.
- Breach: The next step is to prove that the other driver breached that duty of care. From driving a few miles per hour over the speed limit to impaired driving, breaches of that duty to drive properly and safely happen frequently.
- Causation: There are two parts to this element: either proving that the breach of the duty of care directly resulted in your damages (this is known as cause in fact), or proving that “but for” the breach of duty, the damage would not have occurred (also known as “but for” or proximate cause). Proximate cause is helpful when a breach of duty did not directly injure you, but you would not have been injured had the breach of duty not occurred.
- Damages: Finally, you must prove that you were harmed or suffered damages. It is not enough to have almost hurt you—for instance, if an aggressive driver runs you off the road but neither you nor your car are harmed—you must have suffered actual physical or property damages.
If you have been injured because another person acted negligently, you may be able to collect damages to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering related to your injuries. For more information about your injury claim, contact our personal injury attorneys today.