If you experience a personal injury lawsuit, you will usually rely on a claim of “negligence” to put someone else at fault for the accident. Negligence is a term that has various facets that one must know in order to understand negligence claims. These are duty of care, breach of duty, cause in fact, proximate cause and damages. During a negligence case, juries have the responsibility to judge all evidence, facts and testimonies given in order to properly determine if all five aspects of negligence were fulfilled. Keep reading to learn more about these aspects to can help in understanding negligence claims.
Duty of Care
Sometimes, the outcome of a negligence case will be dependent on whether or not the defendant was indebted to a duty to the plaintiff. A duty is when the defendant is legally required by law to act accordingly in a specific way toward the plaintiff. A judge in court will usually establish if the defendant was obligated to owe a duty of care to a plaintiff, rather than a jury doing so. If a reasonable person would see that a duty exists in a certain situation, then it is likely that a judge will see that it does as well.
Breach of Duty
On top of the plaintiff proving the fact that the defendant owed a duty to him or him, the plaintiff also must show that the defendant breached his or her duty against the plaintiff. The way a defendant commits a breach of duty is when he or she does not exercise reasonable care in terms of satisfying it. In determining a breach of duty by a defendant, it is decided on by a jury as a question of fact, rather than if a duty exists or not.
Cause in Fact
In most negligence lawsuits, the defendant’s actions must be proved that he or she actually caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This is usually known as a “but-for” causation. With a but-for causation, it means that the plaintiff’s injuries did not actually happen if it weren’t for the defendant’s actions.
Proximate cause deals with the defendant’s specific power in a negligence lawsuit. The defendant is responsible for any injuries against the plaintiff that he or she could have prevented through his or her actions. If the defendant is responsible for injuries outside of his or her extent of the risks the defendant could have anticipated, the plaintiff cannot prove proximate cause against the defendant for the plaintiff’s damages.
Lastly, in a negligence case, the plaintiff has to prove legally recognized damages. Legally-recognized harms are usually physical injuries to people or even properties. A defendant’s failure to make use of reasonable care must have culminated in legitimate injuries against someone that the defendant owed a duty of care toward.
If you find yourself in the middle of a personal injury lawsuit trying to understand negligence claims, don’t go through it without the proper legal counsel that can help you. The Berman Law Group and its dedicated South Florida personal injury attorneys are here to help you no matter how extensive your case may seem. Call us today at (800) 375-5555 for a free consultation.