An Overview of Negligence in Personal Injury Claims

Negligence plays the main role in personal injury claims and lawsuits. If a person is injured, it is important to prove the other party’s fault for the accident that caused the injury. To prove the other party’s fault, the victim should rely on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence determines who is responsible for the harm and how much compensation they owe.

It is necessary to consult an experienced attorney who can help you prove negligence in a personal injury case.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss negligence, the different types of negligence, and the elements of negligence.

About Negligence

Negligence is defined as the failure to act with the level of care that a reasonable person would in the same situation. Acts of negligence cause harm to another person, either physically, emotionally, or financially.

For instance, when a driver runs a red light and strikes a cyclist, the driver may be negligent because they did not follow the traffic rules and caused an injury to the cyclist.

What are the Types of Negligence?

There are four types of negligence that apply to personal injury cases. 

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a type of negligence that decreases the amount of compensation that the victim can recover depending on their percentage of fault.

For instance, if the victim was 10% at fault for the accident, they can recover 90% of their damages from the at-fault party.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence bars the injured person from recovering any compensation if they were partly at fault for the accident.

For instance, if the injured person was 10% at fault for the accident, they cannot recover anything from the at-fault party.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence involves a reckless or willful disregard for the safety or rights of others.

When a drunk driver hits another driver or a pedestrian, the drunk driver is grossly negligent. This is because they knew about the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol but still decided to drive with reckless disregard for others’ safety.

Vicarious Liability

This kind of negligence holds a person or an entity liable for the actions of another person or an animal. They are commonly seen in dog bite cases and accidents caused by an employee while performing job-related duties.

For example, if a dog owner is unable to control their dog and the dog bites a passerby, the dog owner will be held liable for injuries caused by the dog.

                                                          

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Elements of Negligence 

To prove negligence in a personal injury claim, the victim should establish four elements.

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of duty of care
  • Causation
  • Damages

Duty of Care

Duty of care refers to the legal obligation owed by the defendant to the plaintiff to act in a reasonable manner. The duty of care may arise from a specific relationship, such as the doctor-patient relationship, or from a general standard of care, such as driving safely on the road.

Breach of Duty of Care

Breach of duty of care refers to the violation of duty of care by the defendant. A breach of duty of care involves an action or an omission that deviates from the reasonable standard of care expected from the defendant. It is determined by comparing the defendant’s conduct to what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation.

Causation

Causation refers to the connection between the breach of duty of care and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. The reason must be genuine and legitimate.

Actual causation means that the breach actually caused the harm or that the harm did not occur but was caused by the breach.

Legal causation means harm is a foreseeable consequence of the breach of duty of care, or the breach is a substantial factor in causing the harm.

Damages

Damages refer to losses or injuries suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the breach. Damages include

  • Economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages
  • Non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress

The plaintiff must prove the losses and injuries they’ve suffered with evidence to recover compensation. 

Final Thoughts

In personal injury claims, proving negligence can be a challenging process. That’s why you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you in the legal process. They will help you get the compensation you deserve.

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