What Does “Negligence” Refer to in a Personal Injury Case?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of J.D. Smith with Law Office of J.D. Smith, PLLC.

What Does “Negligence” Refer to in a Personal Injury Case?
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In a civil personal injury claim or lawsuit, the injured party or “plaintiff” must typically prove that the defendant was negligent regarding the duty of care they owed to the plaintiff, causing or contributing to the injury in question. In personal injury law, a “duty of care” refers to a legal obligation one party has to take reasonable steps to ensure the basic safety of another party. Obeying speed limit and traffic signals when driving, for example.

When a breach of duty of care occurs, it may be possible to prove that a defendant was negligent and therefore liable for the damages the plaintiff suffered, ranging from medical bills to lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Proving that a defendant was negligent can be tricky.

Proving liability in a personal injury claim can be tricky, requiring the plaintiff and their legal representation to prove first that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, as well as proving that the duty of care was breached, often due to negligent conduct. One of the best ways to prove that a defendant was negligent in allowing or causing an accident to occur is by thoroughly documenting the scene of the injury as soon as possible after the event. 

For example, if someone was injured at work due to unsafe conditions in the work environment, such as a lack of guardrails, spilled liquid on the floor, or another safety violation, these conditions should be documented as soon as possible. 

A lot of work goes into identifying and proving negligence.

Taking pictures and videos of any factors that may have caused or contributed to an injury can help prove how the injury happened as well as proving who was liable for that area. The same practice applies to any situation where someone’s injury was caused or potentially caused by another party’s negligence, including car accidents, defective product accidents, medical malpractice, and more. 

It’s also a good idea to collect witness contact information and even testimonies as soon as possible to prevent memories from fading. All of this can help prove when, where, and how the injury occurred, which can help identify any instances of negligence. If the plaintiff is too injured to collect this evidence, a friend, loved one, or even an injury attorney can do so on their behalf.

Common personal injury cases include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Dangerous premises accidents
  • Dangerous product accidents
  • Workplace accidents
  • Medical malpractice

In each of these scenarios, the plaintiff and their legal representation will typically have to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care and breached that duty of care through negligence causing the injury if they want to seek a recovery in court. The good news is that most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and even work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients only pay if they win.

To learn more about the role negligence plays in a personal injury case or for help investigating your own claim, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney near you.

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