A personal injury lawsuit comes under the personal injury laws of different states. It is that branch of tort law that covers the bodily and psychological wounds suffered by a victim. At the crux of every personal injury action is negligence.
However, negligence is not an easy thing to prove. You need to have a personal injury lawyer in your corner for your injury claim to succeed. Our lawyers will take their time to explain the doctrine of negligence and help you prove its four elements.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a must-prove legal theory in a personal injury lawsuit. If you can’t prove the negligence of the fault party, your case will likely fail. This is because the person who asserts a thing must prove its existence. So, what is negligence?
Negligence is the failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing an injury or loss to another person. It means that the negligent person failed to uphold the standard of care needed in that situation. The law usually applies the “reasonable man test” in determining negligence.
Here, the question is whether a reasonably prudent person would have acted the same way in the same situation. For instance, in a car accident case based on impaired driving, it is evident that not everyone drinks and drives. Thus, the conclusion is that a drunk driver who caused an accident did not behave reasonably.
When someone behaves negligently, they are liable in damages to the person their action harmed. The award of damages happens in a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim. The latter often comes before the former, as not all personal injury cases progress to litigation. Find out more about injury settlements from our Hartford personal injury attorneys.
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How to Prove Negligence
As mentioned earlier, proving negligence is important to winning a personal injury lawsuit. To show that the defendant caused your injuries and property loss, if any, you need to prove the four elements of negligence. They are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Below, we discuss them one after the other.
The first thing to prove in a personal injury lawsuit is that the defendant owes the plaintiff a duty of care. What duty of care amounts to depends on the facts of each case. For instance, the duty of care in a car accident case differs from that of a medical malpractice claim. This is because the standards of care in both situations are different.
There must be a relationship between the doctor and the plaintiff in medical malpractice cases for a duty to exist. But auto accident cases do not need such a relationship. The duty in accident cases is implied, however, it is binding on road users. Thus, a driver who speeds and rear-ends the person in front is liable for damages.
The second thing to prove in a personal injury lawsuit is a breach of duty. The latter occurs when the defendant fails to exercise reasonable care. It means that they failed to act in a way that an average person would have acted if presented with the same circumstances. You need a Hartford personal injury lawyer to prove the breach.
Causation is all about whether the negligent action caused you harm. Simply put, your personal injury lawsuit will fail if you can’t show that the breached duty led to an injury or loss. You must show the defendant’s action is the “sole reason” you suffered harm, and nothing else.
Thus, if an underlying medical condition caused your health challenge and not a wrong prescription, you can’t claim medical negligence. However, if the wrong prescription worsened the medical condition, you can prove causation. Similarly, you must be able to link your car accident injuries to the crash and not another incident before or after.
The fourth element to prove is damages. If you did not suffer any physical injury or loss, you can’t file a personal injury lawsuit to get compensation. Hence, you must show you suffered actual damages from the negligent action. Damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering from a physical injury
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress, etc.
Get Help from a Hartford Personal Injury Lawyer
Starting a personal injury lawsuit by yourself is possible but not advisable. Proving the elements of negligence can be tough, especially when you’re up against an experienced lawyer. This is why you need a Hartford personal injury attorney by your side.
Our lawyers have spent years winning personal injury claims for our clients and will do the same for you. We will gather the evidence necessary to prove your case and get you the maximum compensation. Contact us today to get started.