After establishing the duty of care, the plaintiff’s focus should be on establishing how the defendant breached or violated the standard of care.
In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent to win their case. But what does being negligent mean in legal jargon? Negligence, in simple terms, is defined as the failure to act in the way that a prudent person in the same situation would have done. In this blog, we examine the basics of negligence in a personal injury case.
Elements of Negligence
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a legal term that means it is the responsibility of one person not to cause any type of harm to another.
For example, a driver has a duty to operate their vehicle with reasonable care at all times, including factoring in conditions such as weather, traffic, and visibility. In case of medical malpractice, a medical professional or doctor must provide treatment according to the established medical standards, care, and protocols put in place by experts. It is the duty of a product’s manufacturer to make goods that do not pose any unexpected or unreasonable dangers to customers.
Breach of Duty and Fault
After establishing the duty of care, the plaintiff’s focus should be on establishing how the defendant breached or violated the standard of care. What were the defendant’s actions that led to the personal injury? Was their conduct unreasonable?
The onus lies with the plaintiff to prove that they suffered harm due to the defendant’s negligence. Merely proving that the defendant failed in exercising reasonable care is not enough to claim compensation. The accident or injury should have resulted in actual damages to the plaintiff.
However, it is advised that you contact a personal injury lawyer to know more about the process in detail. They will also guide you on what you can do to receive adequate compensation.
Types of Negligence
Modified Comparative Negligence
In modified comparative negligence, the plaintiff can only recover damages if they’re less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If the percentage is more than 50, the claim will not stand.
Pure Comparative Negligence
This form of negligence is different from modified comparative negligence. When this method is applied, the plaintiffs get compensation depending on their percentage of contribution to the accident. Therefore, if the plaintiff should’ve received $1000 as compensation, but he was 20 percent at fault, he would ultimately receive $800 instead.
This is the most severe form of negligence law. If the plaintiff is found to be even 1 percent at fault, they would be barred from receiving any compensation. Most states have abandoned this method, as it is categorized to be unfair.
While we have tried to lay down the basics of negligence, we suggest you contact a personal injury law firm in Kansas City for more information. Depending on your jurisdiction, they will offer a free initial consultation and guide you on how to proceed with the situation, evaluate your case and evidence, and help you receive the compensation you deserve.