What is Negligence? Personal Injury Law.

Claims whereby one person or several of them seek the court’s intervention to hold an individual or an organization responsible for the harm or injuries suffered by the applicant(s) are based on the theory of ‘negligence’. In this theory, when an individual or organization acts carelessly or fails to perform his or her duty as stipulated by law and this causes harm to another person, then the careless individual or organization is legally responsible for the resulting harm. To win a negligence claim in a court of law or through informal out of court settlements, the plaintiff, who is the injured person in this case, must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that defendant (the careless individual or organization) acted negligently and this resulted in harm or injury. The plaintiff must also prove other things such as duty and breach of duty that constitute the basic principles of a negligence claim. Let’s now review each of these principles in detail.

  1. Duty.

This is the first step in determining a negligence claim. For a negligence claim to be successful, the defendant must owe the plaintiff a mandatory duty of care. Certain relationships create this mandatory duty of care the two parties, the defendant and plaintiff, don’t need to be in a contractual agreement to establish it. A doctor, for example, has a legal obligation to provide the best care and medical attention to his or her patients and the doctor will be held responsible should any of his or her patients suffer harm or get injured as a result of the doctor’s carelessness or failure to discharge his or her duty in the right way.

  1. Breach of Duty.

Once it has been established that the defendant had a legal obligation to take care of the plaintiff, the plaintiff, through his or her lawyers, must prove that the defendant breached that duty through his actions or inactions. Read more here on how you can find the best lawyers for your personal injury claim. The court will then weigh in to establish if the defendant’s actions or inactions are what any “reasonably prudent person” would have done under similar circumstances. A “reasonably prudent person” is a definition used in law to describe how the average individual should act in certain situations and the defendant will be found negligent if it is established that a “reasonably prudent person” would have acted differently under the given conditions.

  1. Causation.

This element requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions resulted in harm or injury. The defendant may have acted negligently but a negligence claim will only be successful if the defendant’s negligence resulted in harm or injury. The harm or injury doesn’t need to be physical. It can also be emotional and you will need your medical records to prove your injuries or harm.

  1. Damages.

This is the final element in a negligence case and it requires the court of law to determine the compensation due to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This can be in the form of monetary compensation that is issued to the plaintiff to cover hospital bills or property damage.