If you are hurt in an accident, you are only entitled to compensation if you were the victim of someone else’s negligence. This may mean that you were hit by a drunk driver or were hurt by a doctor who didn’t order a test that could have accurately diagnosed a health issue. Let’s take a look at some of the elements used in personal injury law to prove that negligence occurred.
1. The Other Person Had a Duty to Avoid Hurting You
As a general rule, people have a duty to avoid hurting other people whenever possible. If you drive a car, you are required to drive at a speed conducive to road conditions and obey traffic control lights and signs. If you are playing a sport, you have a duty to avoid intentionally hitting someone in the head or hard enough to cause an injury. A duty to protect is generally part of a relationship such as the relationship between a property owner and guests on that property.
2. An Action Was Negligent in Nature
An action does not have to be intentional to be negligent. For instance, you may not have meant to leave the pool gate unlocked when someone accidentally walked past it and into the pool. However, an action is negligent if you knew or should have known that it would lead to a person getting hurt.
3. The Negligent Action Caused an Injury
The fact that someone took an action that was negligent does not mean that he or she owes anybody money. If you were not hurt in a car accident, there is no basis to file or pursue a personal injury law case. Therefore, it is essential that you can prove that an injury occurred, and this may be done with a note from a doctor or with a medical bill.
4. There Were Damages Caused By a Negligent Person or Entity
In addition to proving that a negligent action caused you to get hurt, you must also show the extent of the damages. Again, this may be done by presenting a bill from a medical provider or a bill for medication needed to control symptoms of your injuries. In some cases, this may be as simple as showing a receipt for bandages used to cover up a scrape.
5. Did You Contribute to Your Damages at All?
If you contributed to your injuries in any way, you may be able to collect only a fraction of total damages incurred. For instance, if it is shown that another person hit you because you made a turn without signaling, that may be an example of negligence on your part. Although the other driver may have missed a stop sign or was on a phone at the time of the crash, that wasn’t the only variable that caused the crash to occur.
If you are thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit against another person or entity, make sure that you can prove negligence. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time and money on a matter that won’t be resolved favorably. Most personal injury lawyers will walk you through the legal process during a consultation. At this time, your lawyer may be able to tell you the odds of winning your case and obtaining a financial award.