Negligence is one of the most common personal injury causes of action out there. It is so common that over 400,000 personal injury claims were made in the U.S. in 2020 alone!
However, before filing a lawsuit, you will need to be able to prove negligence. There are many types of negligence as well as different ways to prove it. Understanding this type of claim is critical to a successful outcome.
If you’re interested in understanding negligence law, read on. We’ll be discussing all the essential terms and information you need to know today.
What Is the Everyday Understanding Of Negligence?
Negligence is being unable to take care of something, leading to an unfavorable or unwanted outcome.
In daily life, we typically use it to describe someone who acted irresponsibly.
History of Negligence
The term first appeared as a framework for members of professional communities. For example, professionals like doctors, engineers, and lawyers must do ‘honest service.’
They must not harm or disobey the laws governing their profession.
Later on, the law concerned itself with understanding wrongdoers who contributed knowingly to the harm or injury. ‘Disturb the peace’ is a term that was historically used to refer to those undertaking such disruptive behavior.
What Is Negligence According to the Legal System?
However, according to the law, the definition of negligence involves three elements:
- Lack of care
- Past precedents
What this definition implies is that a negligent part knowingly harmed or injured another party It refers to a lack of care that most reasonable parties wouldn’t undertake.
Drunk driving is one of the best examples of negligence. In this case, the driver has no regard for the other party’s well-being as they chose to drive knowing they might cause accidental injury.
Examples of Negligence
There are many examples of negligence that we see pretty commonly in everyday life. These include:
- Precariously placed items in a store that could fall on a customer
- A doctor that doesn’t do their due diligence
- A driver who texts while on the road
Thus any case of negligence is an intentional act. In the legal framework, the party that is established to be negligent harmed the plaintiff on purpose.
In many cases negligence can also lead to very serious consequences. For example, a wrongful death lawyer deals with cases where the injured has passed away.
Main Elements of Negligence Law
There are many factors that lawyers use to prove that an incident wasn’t an accident injury case. To hold up in court, a claim of negligence must satisfy four criteria.
Duty of Care
This term refers to the imperative all individuals have towards each other in society. We must behave in a manner that doesn’t cause harm on purpose.
The central premise is that there are many ways that we can accidentally harm each other. For a better functioning society, we must take as much care as possible not to. For example, drivers have a duty of care to let individuals pass rather than driving ahead speedily.
Another example is that drivers must follow traffic rules to ensure they don’t hit or harm someone.
Breach of Duty
The next step is to evaluate if duty of care was breached – accidentally or on purpose. A violation of these terms indicates an apparent and purposive attempt to harm.
For example, if a drunk driver hits a pedestrian, that would be considered a breach of duty.
Causation involves establishing that the act of negligence caused harm or injury to another person. It is trickier to prove, as it must be established in absolute terms.
An example of causation would be that an individual ran a light, rear-ended a car, and caused injury to the owner operating that car.
Lawyers often use eyewitnesses, passersby, and experts to establish causation.
Once the other elements have been established without a doubt, the aim is to define the damages encountered. Lawyers try to understand physical, mental, and emotional injuries as a result of negligence.
They then try to encapsulate the damages into a tangible cash amount. The legal system requires a lot of documentation, evidence, and other proof that the negligence claim is valid.
Types of Negligence
There are many kinds of negligence that are recognized under the legal system. At a fundamental level, the law differentiated between knowing and unknowing injury and law.
Let us take a look at the main kinds of negligence that the court recognizes:
- Criminal negligence: When a dangerous or harmful act is also considered a legal crime
- Gross negligence: Where a person consciously and knowingly decided to cause injury or harm to another
In some cases, negligence can lead to injury of both the injured and the negligent party. This is termed as ‘pure contributory negligence.
Get Started on Your Negligence Case Today
If you’re looking to win a personal injury case, proving negligence is the place to start. There are so many common occurrences of neglect that it is essential to arm yourself with the knowledge to claim a case if you have been injured or harmed.
Understanding negligence law can go a long way in making successful claims in court.
We hope this article proved informative and helpful.
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