Establishing negligence in a personal injury case is vital for determining fault and assigning punishment. Therefore, you need an experienced Hartford personal injury lawyer. Negligence can be defined as a failure to exercise the care which a reasonable person would have used in similar circumstances.
A person’s negligence can harm another individual, thereby making the negligent party liable to pay damages. It is important to note that negligence is not necessarily a crime as it is often accidental. However, it could become a crime based on its effects.
In this article, we’ll examine what constitutes negligence in a personal injury case, as well as some examples of negligent behavior.
What Constitutes Negligence in a Hartford Personal Injury Case?
To make a concrete claim for negligence, the victim must establish four key factors. This section discusses them in more detail.
Duty of Care
The first is showing that the negligent party had a duty to the injured party. Also called a duty of care, it refers to a responsibility one has to act reasonably toward others. Without establishing that there was a duty of care, negligence cannot be proven.
For example, imagine renovation is taking place in a store. As a result of the activities involved, people could get injured. Therefore, the store owner has to place a sign that makes people aware of the renovation.
Breach of Duty
Having established a duty to the injured party, the second is establishing that the duty was not fulfilled. Again, using the previous example, an unfilled duty would mean proving that there was no sign showing that renovations were going on.
There is no universally accepted way to determine that this duty was not fulfilled, and it is often left for the judge. However, this can be fixed by proving that someone in the defendant’s position could have anticipated the harm that was done.
In professional cases, like medical negligence, experts can be brought in to explain what standard practice in that situation is. Where the negligent act has nothing to do with professional practice, eye witness reports can help to establish negligence.
The third factor is establishing causation. This means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence was directly or indirectly responsible for the injury they suffered. In establishing causation, there are two elements to consider. The first is the cause in fact, and the other is the proximate cause.
Proving “cause in fact” is straightforward. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits an oncoming vehicle, the driver’s actions are responsible for the accident.
Proving proximate cause is, however, not as straightforward. It involves showing that a plaintiff’s injuries were foreseeable as a result of a defendant’s actions. It is not always the first event that results in an injury or even the last. For example, someone should know that driving while drunk could result in an accident.
Finally, the fourth factor is showing that the negligent act resulted in damages. That is injuries and other financial losses. Without establishing these four elements, a plaintiff cannot prove negligence.
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Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Although negligence usually concerns the defendant, the plaintiff could also be responsible for their injuries in some cases. There are two aspects to this responsibility: contributory and comparative negligence.
Contributory negligence ensures that a plaintiff cannot receive damages if their negligence contributed to the injuries suffered. Therefore, a plaintiff is not entitled to damages under this provision if they were slightly responsible for their injuries.
Historically, all American states used contributory negligence. However, due to how harsh it is, several states stopped it in favor of comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence, the actions of the defendant and plaintiff are examined.
This is to determine to what degree each party is at fault. For a person to receive any damages, they must be responsible for 50% or less of the fault. For example, a person could sue for $50,000 in damages.
However, if they are responsible for 10% of their injuries, they would only get $45,000. Connecticut uses the modified comparative negligence rule.
Learn How a Hartford Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Prove Negligence
You need a personal injury lawyer if you have sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence. However, proving that a person was negligent can be complicated. Therefore, you need someone who knows how to gather the required evidence.
Our personal injury lawyers at Injured CT are not just passionate about what they do but would go the extra mile to help you get justice. While we are a large law firm, we pride ourselves on our ability to offer personalized services to our clients.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.