Some people mistakenly believe that they will receive compensation automatically if they are involved in an accident. However, the reality is much different. You can recover compensation for your injuries only if someone else is at fault and you can prove negligence.
In simple terms, someone is at fault when they fail to use proper care and, as a result, you are injured.
At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, our personal injury lawyers understand how negligence works and how it applies to your personal injury lawsuit. Our team will start searching for and gathering evidence to help with your claim right away.
While we are here to help you in every way, it’s also important to better understand how you prove negligence in an injury case. You may be wondering, “Is it hard to prove negligence?” Keep reading to learn more.
The Legal Elements of Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
When it comes to proving negligence, there are several things you must prove in order to have a legal claim:
- Duty of care. The defendant had the duty or responsibility to ensure you were not injured, by acting with a reasonable level of care or by abiding by the law.
- Breach of duty. It’s necessary to prove that the defendant failed to show this level of reasonable care, which means it was breached.
- Causation. You and your attorney must be able to directly connect the lack of care shown by the defendant to the accident and injuries you suffered. In some situations, it’s easier than in others. For example, if a driver runs into you while you are at an intersection and you suffer a spinal injury, it’s clear that your damages were caused by their actions. However, the connection won’t be as clear or easy to prove in all situations.
- Damages. When you file a personal injury claim, the end goal is to receive some amount of compensation for your losses. If you did not suffer any losses — such as lost wages, medical costs, damage to property, etc. – you will not be able to file a negligence claim.
How Do You Know if Someone Owes You a Duty of Care?
Do you know who does and who does not owe you a duty of care? This can be something many people don’t understand unless they work in the legal profession.
In some situations, you will have an established contractual relationship with a person. This initiates the duty. For example, if you take your car to a mechanic for repairs, they agree to do this, so they need to show a level of reasonable care while evaluating and repairing your vehicle. If the mechanic fails to do this and you are involved in an accident because of his actions or inactions, then the mechanic would be considered liable.
Usually, though, duty occurs based on physical proximity. This is particularly the case for a car accident. All motorists are required to drive with reasonable care. This is expected when you get behind the wheel. The purpose of this is to help ensure that others on the road don’t suffer an injury because of your actions.
The same concepts apply in premises liability cases, such as slip and fall accidents. If there’s a business inviting you inside to shop, then they owe you (and all their customers) a duty to ensure you are not harmed.
Reasonable Care Explained
When someone owes you a duty, they will also likely owe you a duty of “reasonable care.” Keep in mind that this is a standard and doesn’t dictate perfection. Nevertheless, it’s also important to understand they can’t act in a careless manner, either.
A reasonably careful person is always going to follow the law. If someone is driving and breaks a traffic safety law, they will likely be considered negligent since they didn’t display reasonable care.
Examples of negligence are dependent on the personal injury lawsuit you plan to file. For example, in truck or car accidents, the lawyers for truck accidents would highlight that the driver may have tailgated, exceeded the speed limit, passed illegally, or driven on the sidewalk. Drivers who are distracted or intoxicated are also considered negligent if an accident occurs.
With a premises liability accident, there are other scenarios. For example, you may be the victim of an attack at a casino. At this point, it must be considered whether there was sufficient security present. This means that your attorney will consider the level of security it would be reasonable to have at a casino. There should be security cameras and plenty of staff on-site to help prevent these types of situations. The casino should also have policies in place to remove anyone who is causing problems or being disruptive. If the casino fails in any of these elements that are considered “reasonable care,” then they are considered negligent.
Injuries Caused by a Negligent Party
Causation is usually easy to understand. If someone doesn’t act carefully, and these actions (or inactions) impact you directly and cause an injury, then you have proven causation.
While this is true, causation isn’t always a direct concept. There must be a close enough connection between the duty breach and your injuries for someone to be held liable for your accident. This is referred to as “proximate cause.”
Contact Our Legal Team When Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
If you are working to prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, our legal team at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law is ready to help. We have years of experience representing clients in similar situations and will help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you are ready to get started and have us evaluate your legal claim, get in touch by calling (713) 973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000. The initial consultation is free, and we can discuss your options and how we can help with your case. Call today so we can get started.