The Basics of Negligence

Most personal injury cases involve negligence.

From car accidents to "slip and fall" cases -- the basis for holding a person or company legally responsible for any resulting harm comes from the legal principle of negligence.

Generally speaking, when someone acts in a careless way and causes an injury to another person, under "negligence", the careless person will be legally liable for any resulting harm.

What are the Elements of a Negligence Claim?

In order to establish negligence, the plaintiff (the person injured) must prove the following 4 elements to show that the defendant (the person allegedly at fault) acted negligently:
 

  • Element #1 - Duty: The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances;

  • Element #2 - Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way;

  • Element #3 - Causation: It was the defendant's actions (or inaction) that actually caused the plaintiff's injury; and

  • Element #4 - Damages: The plaintiff was harmed or injured as a result of the defendant's actions.