If you have suffered an injury in an accident caused by another person’s reckless or careless actions, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost income, as well as pain and suffering. In order to successfully bring forth a claim, there are four elements you must prove to establish negligence.
The following are the four elements to prove in a personal injury claim:
- Duty of care – You—the plaintiff—must prove is to show that the defendant had a legal obligation to protect the safety and well-being of another person. For instance, when it comes to car accidents, a driver has a duty of care to operate his/her vehicle in a safe and reasonable manner to avoid causing an accident. In a slip and fall accident, homeowners and business owners have a duty to ensure their property is safe and free of hazards.
- Breach – You must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care but failing to act or behave in a manner that a reasonable individual in the same circumstances would have acted. Going back to the car accident example, a breach would mean acting negligently by texting while driving, driving faster than the posted speed limit, or ignoring traffic signals and signs. In a slip and fall case, that would mean forgetting to ensure the floor is clear of debris or display a warning sign near wet floors.
- Causation – You must prove that the defendant’s negligence resulted in the accident that caused your injury. Personal injury claims are based on proof by “preponderance of the evidence,” which means the defendant’s actions “more likely than not” caused the injury.
- Damages – Lastly, you must prove that you suffered monetary damages as a result of the accident. Common types of damages include medical bills, lost income, property damage, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life.