Proving negligence is often required in pursuing claims stemming from accidents causing injuries. This includes slip and falls and automobile accidents. What, however, is negligence? At its essence, negligence means that someone did not act the way they should have and someone suffered harm as a result. Here, we will go into more details regarding negligence and its legal implications
What is negligence?
In most, if not the majority, of personal injury cases, you must prove a person was negligent before you can hold him or her legally responsible for the harm you incurred as a result of their negligence. To successfully prove negligence, there are four elements to prove, including duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty refers to the legal duty a defendant owed to a plaintiff, the injured party seeking compensation for harm suffered. There are certain situations where people owe each other a duty of care. For instance, when operating a motor vehicle on public roads, a person is expected to act with a certain level of care, operate the vehicle safely, and comply with the rules of the road. Other times, it is a relationship between two people that creates the duty. For instance, a doctor owes a patient a duty of care to provide him or her with reasonable medical care.
Breach refers to the defendant’s action or inaction which represented a violation of the legal duty owed to the plaintiff. Courts will use the “reasonably prudent person” standard in most cases to see if a defendant’s conduct breached the duty owed. Essentially, it is a comparison to how the average person would act if put in a certain situation.
The causation element of negligence means that a plaintiff will need to show that the actions or inaction of the defendant caused his or her damages. It is not enough for a person to simply be acting carelessly or recklessly. The negligent action must have been the cause of the plaintiff’s harm. The plaintiff will only be able to recover for the harm that was caused by the negligent action or inaction. With causation, it must also have been reasonably foreseeable that the negligence may cause an injury. Sometimes, through the most random acts of nature, an action may lead to an injury that no one could have predicted. In this type of case, a defendant may not be held liable for the resulting injury
Lastly, the negligence must have directly resulted in the plaintiff suffering harm, or damages. Specifically, the plaintiff must have suffered some harm which would allow a court to compensate him or her for losses sustained due to the negligence. Usually, this compensation comes in the form of monetary compensation for things such as medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and more.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
Have you been injured by the negligence of another? If so, the trusted personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy are here to pursue your legal right to a full and fair monetary recovery. Contact us today.