Negligence, in itself, can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around. Add on top of that the variations of negligence (such as collateral negligence, concurrent negligence, contributory negligence), and once again, individuals are often left wondering what negligence is and how it can be proved. Luckily, our negligence attorneys in Zephyrhills, Florida are here to explain.
“Proving negligence” is a legal term. It is used in tort law to prove that someone has done something that they should not have done (i.e., failed to stop at a stop sign and caused injuries as a result of their actions), or it can be that someone did not do something that should have been done (i.e., did not clean up the spill on the floor that someone slipped on, causing an injury).
This brings us to the four categories of negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages. We will look at each category independently, but it’s important to keep in mind that you must prove all four in order to prove negligence. If you cannot prove all four categories, then you cannot prove negligence in the eyes of the law.
Duty is defined as a legal obligation, the breach of which can result in liability. In a lawsuit, a plaintiff must claim and prove that there was a duty by the defendant to the plaintiff. Every negligence claim starts with a duty. Did the person who caused the injury have a duty to prevent the injury? If yes, then you have duty satisfied, and can go on to breach. If not, then you do not have a negligence claim.
Breach is defined as a failure to do one’s duty. For example, if you run a stop sign, you have failed your duty to operate your vehicle in a safe manner, thereby breaching your duty to other drivers. Every negligence claim must have breach of duty. If there is no breach of duty, then there is no negligence claim. Both breach of duty and duty are typically called the liability portion of negligence.
Causation is exactly as it sounds. If someone has breached their duty and injured someone, it has to be proven that the person’s injuries were caused by the breach of duty. In other words, you do not have negligence if it can be proven that the injured party was not injured by the party that ran the red light. Or put another way, if the injury cannot be proven to be the result of the car crash, you do not have negligence. This is the topic of negligence that is fought the most. You typically need medical evidence to establish that the injuries sustained were caused by the auto accident. As with the other topics or categories, if you cannot prove causation, you cannot prove negligence.
What have you lost as a result of the other party running a red light and hitting your car? Damages are what you had to pay out of pocket, or what it cost you to regain your health. For example, if you were involved in a car wreck and you missed time from work recovering from your injuries, you have lost wages. The lost wages you have are part of your damages. Other common damages include medical care, prescription costs, mileage to and from the doctor, and of course, pain and suffering as it relates to your injury.
This is just a brief explanation of what the four categories are in order to establish a negligence claim. As we said earlier, if you cannot prove all four, you do not have a negligence claim. If you have a negligence claim, it is recommended that you contact an attorney quickly so that all the evidence can be secured.
Looking for a Personal Injury Lawyer in Zephyrhills, Florida?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Zephyrhills, Florida due to someone else’s negligence, turn to the team of qualified and experienced negligence attorneys at O’Toole Law Group. We can help you establish a legal case of negligence by proving the at-fault party’s responsibility, and that his or her negligent behavior was what caused your injuries. Contact us today to discuss your options.