Misrepresentation of insurance coverage resulted in a $10.1 million reward for our client, the victim of a pedestrian accident involving commercial vehicle

Establishing Negligence in Personal Injury Cases

A personal injury lawsuit falls under the specific laws of different states. It is a branch of tort law focusing on physical and psychological injuries due to someone’s negligence. This legal term refers to the failure to provide the expected level of care to avoid causing harm to another person.

However, negligence is challenging to prove. You need the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer to navigate and demonstrate its four essential elements for a successful claim.

Four Elements of Negligence

1. Duty of Care

In a personal injury lawsuit, the first thing to establish is that the defendant owes a duty of care to the plaintiff. The nature of this duty varies depending on the facts of a case. For example, the duty of care in a medical malpractice claim differs from that in a car accident case, since the standards of care in each situation are distinct.

For a duty of care to exist in medical malpractice, an established patient-doctor relationship must exist. However, such a predefined connection isn’t necessary in auto accident cases. The duty in these scenarios is an understood obligation that all motorists accept, making any driver liable for damages if they cause a mishap due to negligence.

2. Breach of Duty

The next step is to show that there was a breach of the established duty of care. This violation occurs when the defendant neglects to adhere to the level of care an ordinarily prudent person would under similar circumstances.

3. Causation

The element of causation, linking the defendant’s negligent behavior directly to the plaintiff’s harm, is central to a personal injury case. The claim is invalid if the plaintiff fails to prove that the defendant’s action, and nothing else, directly resulted in injury or loss.

For example, a plaintiff can’t claim medical negligence if an underlying condition caused their ailment rather than a wrong prescription. However, if it is proven that the incorrect prescription exacerbated their condition, then causation is established. Similarly, the injuries claimed in auto accidents must be directly traceable to the crash, not another incident before or after.

4. Damages

Lastly, for a lawsuit to be valid, there must be tangible damages. Without physical injury or loss, there can be no claim for compensation. The plaintiff must provide evidence of actual damages sustained due to the negligent act, which can include but are not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Emotional turmoil and more

Get Help From Our Dedicated Lawyers

Proving the elements of negligence in personal injury lawsuits can be tricky. That’s why you need the assistance of our team at Cruz & Associates in Phoenix, Arizona. Count on us to gather the necessary evidence to prove your claim and obtain the maximum compensation. Reach out to our firm today to get started.

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