The basis of every type of personal injury claim is the proof of negligence. However, before a person can negotiate a claim, the individual must first prove the four elements that combine to prove negligence.
According to the Cornell University Law School, negligence is defined as, “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one's previous conduct).” To prove such, a plaintiff and their legal counsel, should the plaintiff choose to hire counsel, must prove the following elements:
1. A Duty of Care
A plaintiff is required to prove there was a duty owed to her or him by the defendant. Every individual has a duty to behave in a reasonable manner towards another. For this reason, a personal injury claim must begin with identifying such a duty.
- Example: Each driver owes her or his passenger the duty to drive his or her vehicle safely.
2. A Breach of that Duty
Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached her or his duty of care by failing to act in a reasonable manner toward her or him.
- Example: The motorist operated their vehicle in a reckless manner, causing the plaintiff to suffer serious injuries.
3. The Breach Directly Caused the Injury
The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant’s breach of duty is the direct result of her or his injuries. The damages and injuries must relate to the failure to act reasonably.
- Example: The driver’s reckless actions caused a car accident, which caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries. Reckless driving is the direct cause of the plaintiff’s damages.
4. The Injury Caused Financial Losses
The plaintiff must prove that because the defendant failed to act reasonably and caused the plaintiff to sustain injuries, the plaintiff now faces financial losses. Documented evidence of the plaintiff’s injuries and related costs are required for a court judgment against the responsible party or for the plaintiff to recover a settlement.
- Example: The plaintiff (the accident victim) faces medical bills, treatment expenses, medication expenses, and physical therapy costs as a result of the collision.
Harmed in an Accident? Call Cavanagh Law Group.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries due to another person’s negligent, reckless, or careless actions, we encourage you to contact our Chicago personal injury lawyers at Cavanagh Law Group as soon as possible. We can examine every detail associated with your case and determine which legal strategies can help you pursue maximum compensation in the shortest amount of time possible. Because we commit 100% of our practice to handling personal injury cases, we can provide aggressive legal representation for those who have suffered injuries due to medical negligence, auto accidents, defective products, and more.
To discuss your case, call our Chicago personal injury attorney right away!