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4 Primary Elements to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

The preparation of a personal injury lawsuit is often hard to ascertain, specifically when a plaintiff is unsure if there is negligence. Nevertheless, there are four primary elements to prove that there is negligence occurred in personal injury cases. Specifically, these elements include (1) duty of care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages, which are explained in the following.

Duty of care

A duty of care is a legal obligation to avoid placing someone from injury or in danger. Legally, each person has the duty of care to all individuals. However, this notion makes everyone confused when they will think of to which person does the duty of care is owed and how broad should it be.

Further, there are many instances in which duty of care is challenging to determine since there are no existing laws that can explain how an individual should take action. The law only requires someone to ensure ‘reasonable’ steps towards someone else’ safety and nothing else.

For instance, the people working in a store have every legal duty to take care of its customers. However, there are no specific legal standards or guidelines on how exactly the people working from a grocery store will satisfy the said duty.

Hence, if a customer will be involved in an accident entailing store safety, the first thing to argue is whether the actions are done by the owner or employees of the store qualified as ‘reasonable.’

Breach of Duty

After recognizing that there is a duty of care in every situation, the next thing to be aware of is whether a person lived up to the duty or not. If not, a person’s action is legally regarded as careless or negligent, and therefore, he or she breached the duty of care.

Unlike its scope, breaching of duty is easy to prove. For example, it is every driver’s duty of care to stop at a red light. Whether the light was red when one’s car entered an intersection or not, it can be immediately proven that one breach the said duty so long as there are witnesses who can testify the car’s rate of speed.

Overspeeding is way easier to prove if the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even without witnesses attesting. This scenario is the best example of breaching one’s duty since the driver is putting everyone in a dangerous situation while being intoxicated. You need to contact Legal Aed DUI lawyers for further legal advice with this.

On the other hand, the compliance with the duty is not a proposition that is an all for nothing, so there are some situations in which determining whether the duty is breached or not is taxing. 

Let us reuse speeding as an example. As you are no doubt aware, there is a universal speed law that every driver should always follow. Complying with speed limit does not necessarily manifest that a driver is heeding the ‘universal speed law.’ What matters is what would have been the safer speed under any circumstances.

Causation

Causation, as the term implies, refers to the cause of injuries. Often, once there is proof that someone has breached his or her duty towards you, that person has legal responsibility for the damages incurred. 

However, there are some situations that a person may admit his or her negligence, but will not claim that his or her negligence is the sole cause of an accident. For instance, an owner of a property has not fixed a loose stairway handrail that may cause your fall. This owner may claim that your fall was not due to his or her negligence but by your carelessness.

Damages

In tort law, the term ‘damages’ includes any emotional and physical injuries, property damage, as well as a loss of income caused by accident. These damages are not primarily intended to serve as compensation for one’s loss or injuries, but rather as punishments to defendants for their specific egregious behaviors.

Economic (e.g., medical bills or lost wages), non-economic (e.g., emotional or physical suffering and pains), and punitive damages are the three categories of damages under a personal injury claim.

Additionally, economic damages have valid objective values, while non-economic do not. Punitive damages are usually not recoverable in most personal injury claims unless the at-fault driver was driving under the influence.

Takeaway

There are two things you that you need to make sure you are aware of when you are negotiating your claims for your insurance compensations. These two include the cause of the accident and the possible appropriate compensation.  Also, keep in mind that you may not be able to use these four legal but instead general language with your insurance adjuster.

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