Picture this: As you drive home from a local restaurant, you get in a car accident. However, while you insist it’s the other party’s fault, they’re certain that it’s yours. In some states, if you are found even a fraction at fault, you won’t receive a penny from a personal injury claim.
So, how can you go about proving who’s at fault? If you want to prove that a party is at fault for your personal injury claim, you need to find a way to prove that they are liable for your damages. However, proving liability will be difficult without proving negligence on the other person’s part.
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What Are the Elements of Negligence?
Proving negligence comes down to providing evidence of its four key elements. The elements of negligence are as follows:
1. Duty of Care
In order to prove negligence, you must first prove that the other party had a duty of care to the injured party. In most situations, the average person doesn’t have to care about another. However, the law recognizes the need for two people to act in accordance with the “reasonable person” standard under certain circumstances.
For example, any car owner has a duty of care to ensure their vehicle is well-maintained and operated safely on the road. Business owners as well have a duty of care to their customers, ensuring that their storefront is free from debris and well-maintained.
2. Breach of Duty
The second element of negligence is proving that a breach of this duty of care occurred. Once again, the “reasonable person” standard applies. For example, if someone owns a dog of an aggressive breed who is known to bite when provoked, but does not properly fence them in as a reasonable person would, then they are considered negligent.
Next, the party filing suit must prove that this breach of the duty of care directly caused the damages done to the injured party. This cause can be direct or proximate. However, the more direct the chain of cause and effect, the stronger the case will be.
Lastly, for anyone to be determined negligent, there must be damages. Damages can be physical injuries, emotional scars, or property destruction, depending on the case. These damages must be financial in nature
Who Determines Liability and Negligence?
Liability and negligence often get determined by the insurance company during the personal injury claim process. However, at times, it may be necessary to hire a lawyer such as those at Sweetlaw.com to parse who’s at fault. Especially in cases where proximate, rather than the direct, cause is at play.
Let’s Review: Determining Fault In a Personal Injury Claim
Finding who’s at fault in a personal injury claim can be a tough process. However, so long as you keep in mind the elements of negligence and have documentation to back up your claims, you’ll be able to prove your case.
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