The basis for a personal injury lawsuit after you have been in an accident focuses on a legal concept that is known as negligence. Most accidents aren’t just accidents. The majority could have been avoided but because of negligence or intentional wrongdoing, an accident occurs, and damages result.
You should get the help of a personal injury attorney when you are pursuing a personal injury claim against another party. You need to understand that your claim hinges on negligence, and the four elements of negligence and how they relate to one another is very important.
Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care or acting in a manner in which a reasonably careful individual would not when facing similar or the same circumstances to protect others or himself/herself from property damage, bodily injury, or death.
Usually, negligent conduct involves an action that leads to damages. This action might be rear-ending another vehicle, drinking and driving, or hitting a pedestrian at an intersection.
The Distinct Four Elements of Negligence
There are four distinct elements or components of negligence. If you cannot successfully establish each of these elements, you won’t be able to get compensated for your personal injury claim.
- Duty of Care – The first element of negligence is found in the duty of care. This element emphasizes that one party has the legal obligation to act in a specific manner toward the other party. As an example, a driver is required to abide by traffic laws to avoid causing unreasonable danger to others.
- Breach – The second element is to prove that there is a breach of that duty of care because the individual or entity fails to fulfill their requirements or duties. This might include a driver speeding or running a stop sign.
- Causation – As the third element of negligence, causation involves proving that the breach of duty of care is what results in the damages and injuries. Actual cause is in existence, but if the duty of care had not been breached there would not have been injuries. Proximate cause exists when the kind and the extent of the individual’s injuries were related to the breach of duty of care. As an example, say a motorcyclist was hit by a car and the accident breaks the motorcyclist’s back. If the car hadn’t hit the motorcycle, the motorcyclist wouldn’t have suffered a broken back, so the injuries are the result of the driver failing to exercise due care.
- Damages – Damages are the fourth element of negligence. The plaintiff must have suffered injuries and damages that could be remedied by a monetary settlement. As an example, money can compensate for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the loss of quality of life after an accident.
Proving the Four Elements of Negligence
Your personal injury attorney will gather up evidence and documentation to support your claim. When you get your free case evaluation, your attorney will review your accident and determine if the four elements of negligence have been met.