Understanding the Role of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
In the vast majority of personal injury cases, recovering full and fair compensation requires proving that another party’s negligence was to blame for your damages. It is important to understand the concept of negligence and how it is used to establish liability in your case. If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to recover compensation for your damages. Please speak to an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.
The Elements of Negligence
- Duty of care: When proving negligence, the first requirement is to establish that the other party owed you a duty of care. This means that the other party had a legal obligation to look out for your safety in a given situation. The duty of care sets up a standard for the level of prudence and caution that must be taken. For example, when driving, we all owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road. We must operate our vehicles in a reasonably safe manner.
- Breach: After establishing a duty of care, you must also prove that it was breached. Put simply, a breach is violation of the legally obligated standard. If a driver blows through a red light, they have breached their duty of care to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. We have already established the existence of a duty to drive safely and follow highway regulations, and with the evidence that a red light was ignored, we can establish a deviation from that standard. It would not matter if the red light was ignored intentionally or not. The act itself is a breach; the intention is not relevant. It sounds straightforward in that example, but in real world injury cases, proving a breach is often far more complicated. In fact, breach is typically the most fiercely contested element of a negligence case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you effectively prepare your case so you get over this hurdle.
- Causation: Negligence also requires causation, there needs to be a link between another party’s breach of duty and your injuries. Going back to the red light example, if you can prove that another driver ran a red light twenty minutes before they crashed into your car, you are still short of proving negligence. While a breach did occur, you still have not proved that the required causation between the breach of the duty of care and your accident existed.
- Damages: Finally, you need to establish that you were the victim of real harm. You cannot recover for negligence if you were not actually injured. In some cases, your injury will be plainly obvious, but in other cases, your injuries or losses may not be so obvious. Establishing damages is extremely important. This is because you need to prove the severity of all of your damages to recover full compensation.
Contact an Experienced Pennsylvania Injury Attorney
At Randy H. Kaplan Law Offices, we have extensive experience dealing with Pennsylvania personal injury law. Our team works aggressively to help injured victims recover fair compensation. We can help you prove negligence in your case. If you have been injured in Montgomery County, Bucks County, Philadelphia, or elsewhere in southeastern Pennsylvania, please do not hesitate to contact our office online or by calling 215-576-8870 to schedule a free initial consultation.