To have a viable personal injury claim, an injured individual must be able to prove that their injury was the result of negligent conduct by an individual or business. In most cases, this means working with an attorney to prove the four elements of negligence through sufficient evidence. Here is what you need to know before getting started on your claim.
What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?
The first element of negligence is duty. The plaintiff (the injured individual) must show that the defendant (the person or business accused of causing the injury) owed them a duty of care. In other words, they must have been legally obligated to act in a certain way to avoid harming the plaintiff. This duty can arise from many different relationships, such as doctor and patient, employer and employee, or landowner and visitor.
The second element is breach of duty. The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable person would have in the same situation. For example, if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication to a patient, they may be held liable for breaching their duty of care.
The third element is causation. The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the actual and proximate cause of their injuries. In other words, they must show that the injury would not have occurred if the defendant had acted as they should have.
The fourth and final element is damages. The plaintiff must have suffered some type of loss or damage as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This could be physical, financial, or emotional damages.
Examples of Negligence
There are many different ways that negligence can occur. Here are a few examples:
- A car accident caused by a distracted driver
- A slip and fall at a grocery store due to a wet floor
- A doctor prescribing the wrong medication to a patient
- An employer failing to provide a safe work environment
How Does Negligence Affect a Claim?
Proving the four elements of negligence is essential to any personal injury claim. If even one element cannot be proven, the claim will likely fail. This is why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case.
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact the team at Maring Williams Law Office to discuss your case and the legal options available to you. Our team has spent more than 30 years helping individuals throughout North Dakota, Minnesota, and Montana recover compensation for their losses. Call (701) 402-6644 today!