Negligence is a legal concept in which an individual fails to use reasonable care, often resulting in harm or injury to another. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff will rely on the negligence of the opposing party to prove their fault for the accident that occurred and therefore, caused the injury. Here, the Law Office of Peter T. McDowell outlines the elements of negligence as well as its role in a personal injury case.
Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
In order to demonstrate that the opposing party was negligent in a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove that they had a duty of care in the event that caused the injury. He or she must also then show how the defendant failed to provide that duty, or how they “breached” the duty of care. Lastly, the plaintiff will then need to show that they have sustained real injuries that were a result of the breach of the duty of care. In order to demonstrate the breach, they will need to prove that the actions either taken or not taken by the defendant failed to meet the required level of reasonable care. It is important to note, however, that what is considered as “reasonable” will differ depending on the particular case.
Duty of Care
Duty of care refers to the responsibility one has to avoid causing harm to another. The following are some examples of the duty of care in common types of personal injury-related cases:
- A driver has a duty of care to operate his or her vehicle with reasonable care at all times while on the road.
- Property or business owners have the legal responsibility to keep the property free from known dangers.
- Doctors and medical professionals have the duty to provide treatment that falls in line with the “medical standard of care.”
- Manufacturers, sellers, and distributors have the responsibility to produce and sell products that are free of potential hazards that may cause harm to consumers.
Breach of Duty
As previously stated, once the plaintiff has demonstrated the duty of care, they must then prove how the defendant breached that duty or how the defendant should be deemed as guilty for causing the plaintiff’s injuries. This fault can be proved by showing the defendant’s violations, the testimony of an eyewitness, the plaintiff’s own testimony, or the examination of evidence, if available. Sometimes, however, the plaintiff may be partly responsible for the injuries they have endured, also known as comparative fault. In this situation, the plaintiff’s compensation could possibly be reduced to reflect the degree to which their own negligence played a role in the accident.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney at the Law Office of Peter T. McDowell
The negligence of another can be potentially harmful and dangerous to you and your loved ones. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney. Seeking the assistance of a trusted and experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate your personal injury case with a qualified professional by your side to fight for the compensation you seek and deserve. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Peter T. McDowell have the experience and knowledge to support you during your personal injury case and are here to help. To learn more about our practice areas or to set up a consultation, contact us here.