Personal Injury Law 101: Understanding the 4 Elements of Negligence

Personal Injury Law 101: Understanding the 4 Elements of Negligence

Before a personal injury claim can be considered valid, there must be proof of negligence. For this reason, a person cannot negotiate a claim unless he or she and his or her legal counsel (should they choose to retain a lawyer) prove the four elements that combine to create the proof of negligence.

The Cornell University Law School defines negligence as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one's previous conduct).” To prove such, the following four elements must be established:

1. Duty of Care

A person must prove that the defendant owed him or her a duty. Because each individual holds the duty to behave in a reasonable manner towards other people, a personal injury claim must begin with the identification of such a duty.

2. Breach of that Duty

A person must prove that the defendant breached his or her duty of care by failing to act in a reasonable manner toward the plaintiff.

3. Breach Directly Caused Injury

A person must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty is the direct result of his or her injury. The injuries and damages must relate to the defendant’s failure to act reasonably.

4. Damages and Injuries Caused Financial Losses

A person must prove that because the defendant failed to act reasonably, the plaintiff suffered injuries, and as a result, faces monetary loss. Evidence of the plaintiff’s injuries and resulting costs will be required for court judgment against the defendant in order for the plaintiff to recover a settlement.

Believe You Have a Case? Call Inman & Tourgee.

If you have suffered injuries in an accident caused by a negligent person, it is crucial that you seek experienced legal advocacy right away. When you choose to work with our team, we will examine the details of your case and determine which strategies can best protect your future in the shortest amount of time possible. No matter what your situation may be, we have the skills and experience to pursue maximum compensation for you!

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