In law, negligence is a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised in the same or similar circumstances. Negligence can be in the form of careless actions that cause harm to a person but it can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act. In other words, people should exercise reasonable care in their actions and they should take account of the potential harm that they might foreseeably cause to other people or property.

Personal Injury

When someone is injured or becomes ill because of another party or parties’ negligence and/or their property is damaged or destroyed because of this, they may be entitled to sue for their injuries and the damages they’ve incurred. These losses may include physical injury or illness as well as an injury or illness that negatively impacts a person’s mental health. They can also include harm to property or economic loss. 

If someone dies because of another party or parties’ negligence, their remaining family members may be able to sue for compensation on behalf of their deceased loved one, as well as for their own grief and suffering. 

Typically, law regarding negligence rests on being assessed in general terms, according to four elements. This includes the assessment of duty, breach, actual and proximate cause, and damages. 

Personal Injury and Negligence Claims

When a victim of a personal injury files a claim in order to seek compensation, they are the plaintiff in this action. The party or parties that allegedly caused the injuries are the defendant(s). Some states have very similar laws pertaining to personal injury lawsuits but each state has specific laws and timelines that a plaintiff has to follow when they are trying to get restitution for the damages the defendant allegedly caused.

Most jurisdictions ascribe to four basic elements that need to be proved in a negligence claim:

-Duty The defendant has a duty to others to exercise reasonable care.

-Breach The defendant breaches that duty through an act or culpable omission. A breach may be a failure to perform a contract, failure to do one’s duty, causing a disturbance, trespassing or illegally entering a property, causing a disturbance, threatening, and other violent acts that break public tranquility.

-Damages Damages to a person and/or their property that are the result of an act or omission, have incurred.

-Causation The injury or damage to the plaintiff’s person or property is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s act or omission. 

Some jurisdictions narrow these elements to three basic ones of duty, breach and proximately caused harm, whereas some jurisdictions recognize five elements where causation is quantified as actual cause and proximate cause. Regardless of how many elements a jurisdiction divides what is necessary to have a valid negligence claim, at their core, the various definitions of what constitutes negligent conduct are very similar. 

A good way to find out if you have a valid negligence claim is to discuss your situation with a lawyer that is licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction where your injury or illness occurred.

Be informed with Personal Injury Defense LA.