Whether injured in a car accident, slip and fall accident, construction accident, or by a product the great majority of personal injury cases require the injured victim to demonstrate negligence. Understanding the legal concepts of duty of care and negligence will help you better understand your rights and why you need to choose a seasoned attorney to represent you.
With a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side, you can increase your chances of receiving reasonable compensation. Our Boston’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm, Colucci, Colucci & Marcus, P.C., represents clients in the fight to receive the highest potential compensation for their injuries. We never back down from a difficult case, and we will not accept anything less than the full value of your claim.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is defined as failing to act with the same amount of caution that a prudent person would have used in the same situation. When there is an obligation to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s earlier conduct), the behavior normally consists of actions, but it can also consist of omissions.
The anticipated likelihood that the person’s conduct will result in injury, the predictable degree of any harm that may occur, and the burden of safeguards to remove or decrease the risk of harm are the primary considerations to evaluate in determining whether the person’s conduct lacks reasonable care. See Restatement (Third) of Torts. When there is an obligation to act, negligent conduct might take the form of either an act or a failure to act.
What are the Elements of Negligence?
In order to prevail on a negligence claim in a personal injury case, you must show that you have met all four elements of negligence. The four elements of negligence that must be proven are:
- Duty: The defendant must have owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- Breach: The defendant must have breached that duty of care owed to the plaintiff
- Proximate Cause: The defendant’s breach actually caused the plaintiff’s injuries
- Damages: There was some form of injury (economic or noneconomic)
Each case is distinct, requiring proof of multiple factors. Personal injury lawyers are familiar with the types of evidence that are required to back up your claim.
How Do You Prove the Elements of Negligence?
Proving each element of negligence will need some form of evidence from the case. Each element must be fulfilled in order to bring a successful case.
Showing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff is usually the easiest element (other than injury) to prove. If some sort of relationship was established, there is likely a duty owed (drivers to other drivers, boss to employee, caretakers to child or elder, etc.).
The Hand Formula is commonly used by courts to determine whether a defendant has breached a duty. If the cost of adopting such precautions is less than the chance of injury multiplied by the severity of any resultant injury, the person who bears the cost of precautions shall be held liable.
To show injury, it must be one of two things: (1) bodily harm, or (2) harm to properly. Solely economic loss will not meet the burden of proving the injury element.
Finally, showing that damages were sustained. This goes hand-in-hand with an injury. If you prove the injury, it is likely some sort of damages were sustained in order to make the plaintiff whole again—for either their bodily injury or replacement of property.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has sustained any injuries due to the negligence of someone else, it is likely you will have a successful personal injury case.
Contact our Boston personal injury attorneys at Colucci, Colucci & Marcus, P.C. Call us at 617-698-6000 or send us an email for a free introductory consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.