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What Are the 4 Elements of Negligence?

 
11/16/2020
Weinstein Legal
Read Time: 7 Minutes

There are 4 elements of negligence that you and your attorney must successfully prove in order to secure compensation for a personal injury claim. If you are suing another party you must hire an aggressive injury lawyer for negligence, who knows the ins and outs of the legal system and is familiar with all four elements of negligence in an injury claim. Establishing a strong case will yield better settlement results, getting you the compensation that you deserve.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to another person's negligent behavior, contact South Florida personal injury attorney Justin Weinstein at Weinstein Legal today for FREE case evaluation. Mr. Weinstein has years of experience representing personal injury victims, fighting insurance companies and opposing attorneys aggressively in court to get the money his clients are entitled to. If you are injured, don't wait. Contact Mr. Weinstein today to begin working on your case. Call 954-845-0505.

The 4 Elements of Negligence in an Injury Claim

For a successful personal injury case, your attorney must establish the four elements of negligence. These elements prove who is responsible for your injury, why they are the one responsible, and the fact that their actions (or lack of action) caused you direct harm and financial hardship.

The 4 elements of negligence include:

  1. Duty of Care
  2. Breach of Duty
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

Your attorney must successfully show that each of these elements is present in your case in order to hold another party responsible for your injury and the costs and future costs you incur as a result. Keep reading to learn more about each element, what it entails, and common examples in personal injury cases.

1. Duty of Care

Each person has a duty of care to others, no matter what they are doing. Duty of care is the legal responsibility you have as an individual not to injure or harm another person. This element of negligence states that the possibility of harm must be "reasonably foreseen." 

For example, other drivers on the road have the legal responsibility not to drive recklessly. If they speed, run a stop sign, tailgate, fail to use their turn signal, and more, and the behavior results in an accident they are breaching this duty of care.

Similarly, property owners have the duty of care to maintain their space in a way that is safe for others. For example, store owners have the responsibility to ensure spills are cleaned up in a timely fashion, that loose floorboards are fixed, and more. If a person injures themselves on property that isn't well maintained, the store or property owner may have breached their duty of care. 

Another common example of another person's duty of care in personal injury cases is that of an animal owner. Simply by owning an animal you accept the duty of care you have to keep other people protected from bites and attacks. 

There are countless other examples of duty of care. Any time a person puts another person in harm's way they are breaching this duty. However, it's important to recognize that duty of care does not apply to a simple accident and does not make a person responsible for another person's negligence. For example, a store owner does not have the duty of care to stop an individual from doing cartwheels down the aisle of the store, a scenario in which they can reasonably foresee an accident occurring as a result of their own actions. 

2. Breach of Duty

For a successful personal injury claim, the opposing party must have breached their duty of care. What this means is that they failed to uphold their legal responsibility to keep you safe, either through reckless action or lack of action. 

Breaching a duty of care entails failing to act reasonably, or in a way that another person could be expected to act in a similar situation. This breach of duty is part of what protects individuals from being sued in simple accidents. Would another store owner have known to make those same necessary repairs? Would another driver know that driving at that speed was dangerous? These are all important facts to consider.

3. Causation

Causation is third on the list of the four elements of negligence, and it is extremely important. In a personal injury case, causation means that the opposing party's breach of duty to uphold a standard level of care is the direct result of your injury. It means that, without the opposing party's action or lack of action, your injury would not have occurred. 

For example, say you twist your ankle while walking on uneven pavement, leading to a break that requires surgery, physical therapy, and time off of work. The cause of your injury is the twist resulting from the uneven pavement, that the property owner had the duty of care to keep safe for pedestrians. By failing to keep the pavement safe they breached their duty, and it resulted in your injury. If they had fixed the uneven pavement, you likely would not have twisted your ankle and wound up in the hospital with an injury. This is what the law refers to as causation.

4. Damages

Establishing that you incur damages as the result of your injury is essential, as this is what you are filing a personal injury case to reclaim. These damages are what your settlement money goes to compensate. Damages are what you lose as a result of your injury.

It is imperative to know that damages do not have to be strictly monetary, though monetary damages certainly are important. They can also include compensation for pain and suffering. Additionally, damages do not only pertain to medical bills and the cost of treating your injury.

Damages can include damage to your property as the result of an accident, such as the costs to repair your car after a crash as well as the cost to replace belongings that were inside of it. Additionally, damages can include compensation for not just your immediate medical bills, but expected medical costs you will incur in the future as a result of your injury. They may also include lost wages and future lost wages, compensation for mental health treatment to cope with the emotional fallout of a serious injury, and more. 

Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is essential, as you may not realize all of the damages you are entitled to claim as a result of your injury. Your personal injury claim may be worth much more than you realize and a good personal injury lawyer can help you get the largest settlement possible. If you're considering filing a claim, speak with an attorney before you do so to ensure you are asking for all that you deserve. 

How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Even if you think your personal injury case is cut and dry, and that the judge is sure to see your side, it is best to consult with a personal injury attorney in South Florida with experience in these cases. This helps several elements of your case.

First, a personal injury attorney can help evaluate the worth of your case. They will help you decide how much money to file for, helping you add up all your past, present, future, and intangible costs and damages. You are likely to get a larger settlement with the help of an experienced attorney.

Second, a personal injury attorney will know how to best compile the necessary documentation to present your case. They will help prove each of the 4 elements of negligence and will show how each requirement is met, improving your chances of winning.

Additionally, an experienced personal injury attorney will never settle with an opposing attorney or the insurance companies for an amount that is less than what your case is truly worth. Oftentimes, opposing attorneys and insurance companies attempt to offer you less than what you are asking in hopes that you will accept the settlement and they will avoid a big payout. Since you cannot re-open a case after you accept a settlement, it's essential to have an attorney fighting on your behalf to ensure that this does not happen. 

Get Your FREE Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one are suffering from an injury as the result of another party's negligence, contact the legal team at Weinstein Legal today and ask for personal injury attorney Justin Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein will provide you with a FREE case evaluation, with no obligation. Our Law Firm handles injury cases in both Fort Lauderdale & West Palm Beach, Florida.

During your case evaluation the team at Weinstein Legal will help determine the worth of your case, so you know what to expect in regard to compensation and settlement amount. When you work with Mr. Weinstein and the team at Weinstein Legal, you will have access to your injury attorney in Broward, Palm Beach, & Miami-Dade County around-the-clock. Our phones are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so no call for help will ever go unanswered.

If you are injured, do not wait to seek the help of Attorney Justin Weinstein. The sooner you act, the better your chances are of receiving the settlement you deserve. Call 954-845-0505 today. 

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