How Do You Prove Someone Was Negligent in A Personal Injury Case?
March 21, 2017
Personal injury lawsuits are all about finding the person whose negligence caused your injuries and making sure they compensate you.
Succeeding in a personal injury lawsuit, however, is hard work. To win, you have to show four things:
The person who hurt you had a legal duty to care for your well-being;
That person breached their duty to you by not upholding it;
That person’s failure to uphold their duty to care for you caused your injury; and
Your injury has, in fact, hurt you.
Legal Duty of Care
A duty of care is a responsibility not to hurt other people, or to place them in harm’s way.
In some cases, it is easy to see what a duty of care is: When you are driving, for example, you have a duty not to cross the yellow line, into oncoming traffic. Doing so would put other people in harm’s way.
In most cases, however, someone’s duty of care might be more difficult to determine. Generally, people are expected to take the care of a “reasonably prudent person” when they deal with others.
Breach of that Duty
Once it has been established what duty of care you were owed, the next step is to show that the person who hurt you breached their duty. This often involves proving that they acted in a negligent way. In the driving example, where everyone has a duty not to cross the yellow line, breaching that duty would be allowing your car to go over the line.
The Breach Caused Your Injury
Personal injury lawsuits are also about being compensated by the one who is responsible for your harm. If someone else crossed the yellow line with their car and hit yours, they should compensate you for your injuries. However, if some of your injuries were caused by a faulty air bag, then they will not be held liable for those injuries. Instead, you will have to be compensated for them from the air bag manufacturer or carmaker.
You Suffered an Injury
This is often the most contentious part of a personal injury lawsuit because it is where you name all of your injuries, from hospital bills to loss of potential earnings, pain, and suffering, and emotional distress. The person who hurt you often takes issue with some of these and will argue that you are not as injured as you say you are because they do not want to pay.