There is a strong belief that if you are ever the victim of an accident you are automatically entitled to compensation. However, this is not true. If a person fails to use adequate care, they are considered liable for the other person’s injuries. This is also known as negligence. However, all elements of negligence must be proven. Continue reading to learn about these elements and how you can prove negligence in your case.
Elements of Negligence
By law, you must present certain facts to successfully claim negligence.
- Duty- The party that you are suing, also known as the defendant, had a duty to not hurt you by acting sensibly, or by following the law.
- Breach- The defendant did not act sensibly, which means that they breached their responsibility to adequately care for you.
- Causation- You must be able to attach the defendant’s lack of duty to your injuries. This is pretty simple in most cases. For example, if a driver slams into you in an intersection and, as a result, you sustain a broken neck, the connection between the two is clear. But, sometimes it is not so obvious in other cases.
- Damages- The point of filing a personal injury claim is to receive a settlement for any losses you endured. Without proof, you don’t have a negligence claim.
Is the Defendant Responsible for My Injuries?
Most of the time, causation is obvious. When one person fails to act sensibly, it can impact you directly, resulting in injury.
There may be some cases where causation is not direct or obvious. While reaching a settlement is still possible in this case, it will just take more to prove. For instance, you may wonder if a pedestrian can sue for negligence if they are injured after a car runs into him, causing injury. The direct cause, in this case, was a mechanic that carelessly repaired the brakes on the driver’s vehicle, which led to the brakes failing. The car then crashed into the pedestrian. Typically, even while the pedestrian didn’t directly conduct business with the mechanic, he could probably still sue for negligence. This is because the mechanic should have known that his poor brake repair job could end up causing injury to someone if an accident were to occur.
But, causation doesn’t always have to be straightforward. However, there should be an attachment between the person’s injuries and the breach of duty.
Evidence Needed to Prove Negligence
Every case is different. With that being said, depending on the case, the type of evidence needed to prove negligence will differ. For instance, if you were injured following an auto accident, testimony from witnesses is helpful. Surveillance cameras and dashcam videos are also helpful. If a motorist is impaired by alcohol or drugs, a blood or breath test can be helpful in proving the actual amount.
It is also possible that the defendant may admit that they were liable while still at the scene of the accident. It is also possible for them to admit this while under oath.
Comparative Negligence Defined
It is possible that both parties can be found negligent after being involved in an accident. For instance, a driver may have intentionally run a red light due to him being under the influence of drugs. He then crashes into another driver who was slowly driving through the intersection because they were distracted by their phone.
This is a perfect example of a case where both parties are negligent to some degree. Even though the driver was hit by another driver, he was distracted because he was looking at his phone. Comparative negligence simply means that both parties are liable. As a result, the amount of compensation that the victim will receive will likely be reduced. For example, if the damages were $120,000, you would only receive $90,000 if you were found to be 25% liable.
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