If you or a loved one has experienced a personal injury, you may be familiar with, or have at least heard of, negligence. Defining negligence within personal injury cases is often essential to proving liability or fault, and gaining fair compensation for the injured individual. Without proof of negligence, it is unlikely that the injured party will see the outcome they desire.
To put it quite plainly, negligence can be defined as an individual or corporation behaving carelessly or recklessly, causing injury to another person or group of people. However, legally speaking, negligence may not be as easy to define. There are a few moving parts to defining and proving negligence in a personal injury case. These parts include duty, breach, causation, and damages or harm. Let’s take a closer look at each of these, and how they play a part in personal injury cases.
To summarize, duty is the responsibility that the supposed liable party owed to the injured party to keep them safe and secure. This duty must be proven to establish any negligence claim. In some circumstances, this legal duty of care is clearly defined, such as in doctor-patient relationships. It is the doctor’s legal responsibility to act reasonably in order to take care of their patient. In other circumstances, this legal duty of care may not be as clearly defined, but may still exist. For instance, on a property, it is the owner’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for others. It is the owner’s duty to do everything in their power to do so.
Once a legal duty has been defined, it can be determined if the supposed liable party has breached said responsibility. Breach of duty is a specific action or inaction taken by an individual or corporation that resulted in the affected individual’s injuries. Quite often, a comparison is made between the behavior or the party in question and the behavior or a “reasonably prudent person.” This essentially means that if a person, given the information available at the time of the accident, would have known that an injury could occur or would have made alternative decisions to prevent a potential injury, it can be assumed that the supposed liable party has breached their legal duty.
Not only does a legal duty need to be defined, and a breach of that duty proven, but it also needs to be clear how these circumstances caused the injury that resulted. Mere correlation may not be enough to prove negligence. While negligence may be present, it needs to be shown how the exact negligence in question resulted in the specific injury suffered. In addition, it needs to be considered whether the supposed responsible party had enough information at the time to have the foresight that a potential injury might occur. If it could not have been reasonably deduced that the outcome was going to happen, or if the injury resulted from unforeseeable circumstances, causation may not be able to be proved.
Lastly, if duty, breach, and causation have all been established, the damages must also be able to be proven. This means that after determining that the supposed responsible party had a legal duty, and proving that they breached said duty, which caused the injury in question, it is now imperative to prove the existence and severity of the injury itself. In addition to the injury itself, if the affected individual is claiming damages, these must be proven as well. In any circumstances, proving negligence may be difficult. If you have experienced a personal injury, your priority should be resting and healing. Contact our team for legal representation and Get BETTER with BLANK today.