How to Prove Negligence

By

Negligence may seem like a fuzzy, vague concept. This is partially a result of the nature of a negligence claim, which often accuses a person of failing to act in a particular way.

Legal concepts are tricky enough, but they are even more troublesome when illegal actions are defined by what a person fails to do, as is often the case in negligence cases.

While negligence laws vary widely by state, learning how to prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit requires gaining knowledge of the four basic elements of a negligence claim.

Proving Negligence: Four Basic Elements

Negligence is a theory that may apply in a wide variety of cases, including wrongful death claims or a car accident lawsuit.

When determining how to prove negligence occurred, personal injury attorneys must consider the four basic elements of a negligence case. These include:

  • Duty. Most citizens have a duty to treat other people with reasonable care. Yet this duty of reasonable care may vary depending on context. For example, doctors have a duty to treat patients with reasonable care, while drivers have a duty to other drivers and pedestrians to abide by the rules of the road.
  • Breach of duty. A plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached a specific duty. If a doctor delivers care that falls well below professional standards, or if a driver breaches her duty to other drivers by running a red light, then a breach of duty may occur.
  • Causation. There must be a causal link between the plaintiff's injury and the defendant's breach of duty. If, for example, a driver runs a red light and strikes a pedestrian walking across a crosswalk, the driver's actions directly caused the walker's injury.
  • Injury. In brief, you cannot sue someone for negligence if you have not suffered an injury. Injuries, though, do not have to be physical. Many negligence cases are filed due to psychological, emotional, or economic harm.

Help with Proving Negligence

While the four elements of negligence may seem straight-forward, proving them in a negligence case usually requires a great deal of planning, legal research, and investigative work.

Negligence is usually defined by decisions made in prior court cases. For example, your state likely has hundreds of previously decided medical malpractice lawsuits that provide the foundation for tomorrow's negligence claims against doctors.

Due to the complexity of most negligence claims, many plaintiffs prefer to consult with a local injury attorney before filing their claim.

If you believe you have a valid negligence claim, connect with an injury attorney in your area for a free consultation by filling out the form below:

Copyright © 2011 TotalInjury, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

Submit ZIP Code
Or, call us anytime. Available 24/7: 855-694-9176

Some bumps and bruises are a natural part of life. But when your pain is caused by reckless behavior, abusive behavior or negligent practices, Total Injury is there.

If you were injured as a result of someone’s negligence or intentional actions against you, you may have the right to compensation for any injury, damage or loss caused by the person at fault. About Us »

Attorneys: We help clients find you! Call 877-349-1307

PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT. THIS WEB SITE IS A GROUP ADVERTISEMENT AND THE PARTICIPATING ATTORNEYS ARE INCLUDED BECAUSE THEY PAY AN ADVERTISING FEE. It is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal services plan. Total Injury is not a law firm. Your request for contact will be forwarded to the local lawyer who has paid to advertise in the ZIP code you provide. Total Injury does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who participates in the network nor does it analyze a person's legal situation when determining which participating lawyers receive a person's inquiry. It does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer. The information contained herein is not legal advice. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. Any information you submit to Total Injury does not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Do not use the form to submit confidential, time-sensitive, or privileged information. All photos are of models and do not depict clients. All case evaluations are performed by participating attorneys. An attorney responsible for the content of this Site is Kevin W. Chern, Esq., licensed in Illinois with offices at 25 East Washington, Suite 400, Chicago, Illinois 60602. To see the attorney in your area who is responsible for this advertisement, please click here.

FLORIDA ONLY: Total Injury is considered a lawyer referral service in the state of Florida under the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. By all other standards, Total Injury is a group advertisement and not a lawyer referral service.

If you live in Mississippi, Missouri, New York or Wyoming, please click here for additional information.