Personal Injury Lawyer
In personal injury cases, to successfully receive compensation for your injuries, you need to establish that the other party is at-fault for the injury. To do this, something called negligence is often used. But what exactly is negligence? You should always speak with a personal injury attorney, but this simple guide will go over the basics of negligence.
Essentially, there are two requirements for an action to count as negligence. First, the action must fall short of what can reasonably be expected from someone. This is a subjective concept, which is why it can be difficult to prove that someone was acting negligently. You need to prove that the average person would expect someone not to act the way he or she did. It is easy to prove that driving drunk falls short of what everyone expects from reasonable adults, but it is a little more difficult to prove that someone did not clean up a spill in a reasonable way.
The other requirement for negligence is that the action caused harm to someone else. Acting unreasonably is not negligent unless someone was harmed. This may seem easier to prove, but it comes with its own set of complications. It is easy to prove that someone was injured, but more difficult to prove that the injury occurred as a direct result of the actions in question.
The Four Components of Negligence
Digging a little deeper into the concept of negligence, there are four components for the legal definition:
- Duty – There must be some legal responsibility the defendant has not to act the way he or she did. For example, every citizen has the legal duty not to drive drunk, or an employer has the legal duty to provide a safe working environment.
- Breach – For the defendant to be negligent, he or she must have failed to follow this legal duty in some way. The concept of the duty being breached is as simple as it sounds.
- Causation – The breach of duty must have directly caused the injuries.
- Damage – The victim must have received some form of damages from the actions. For personal injury cases, this usually takes the form of medical bills. For other kinds of cases, it may be damage to property or other types of monetary loss.
It is always a good idea to leave proving negligence to your personal injury lawyer. The first step you should take when filing a lawsuit is to hire an attorney.