The term "establishing negligence" comes up often when discussing personal injury cases. If you're considering filing a case against a person or company, understanding what this term means will help you decide whether or not it's worthwhile to proceed with your case. Put simply, establishing negligence means proving that the other party acted carelessly and this carelessness led directly to your injury. Only when a person or company can be demonstrated to have acted negligently can a personal injury case against that party be won.

The Process of Establishing Negligence

Lawyers often divide the process of establishing negligence into four steps, or elements. First, they must prove that the person you are naming in the case had a legal duty to you. For example, in the case of supermarket liability, supermarkets are said to have a duty to protect their customers from forseeable harm. The second step in establishing negligence is to prove that the defendant did not uphold his or her legal duty to you. For instance, a supermarket would be violating their duty if they were to ignore spills, allowing customers to slip, or fail to repair exit doors, causing customers to become trapped inside during a fire.

The third step in establishing negligence is demonstrating that the defendant's breach of duty led to your injury. Returning to the supermarket example, this might mean showing that your broken shoulder was, indeed, caused by your slip in the aisle. Finally, your lawyer must show the extent of the damages caused by your injury. This typically includes lost wages and medical expenses.

Intricacies of Establishing Negligence

The process of establishing negligence lies at the heart of all types of personal injury cases, from car accidents to elder neglect suits. However, in some types of cases, there may be specific intricacies to the way in which establishing negligence works. For example, in car accident cases, it is common for states to allow for contributory negligence. This means that multiple parties may be determined to be partially liable for damages related to the accident.

Cases in which children's actions led to injuries are also handled in a special manner. Children themselves may be found to be "negligent" by the court, but they are not held to the same standard of conduct as an adult would be. Rather, in most states, children can be determined to be negligent when they did not meet the standard of conduct expected based on their age and level of experience.

When you're considering filing a personal injury case, ask yourself, "can I prove that the person I want to sue acted negligently, and that this negligence caused the injury?" If your answer is "probably" or "yes," you should contact a personal injury attorney and proceed, as you have a good chance of winning your case. To learn more, visit Swartz & Swartz P.C