You may have heard the word “negligence” before – but in a legal context, what does it actually mean? Negligence is often an essential piece of a plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit, as it helps establish fault. Generally, the plaintiff is suing the defendant for causing their injury, whether through action or inaction. If you believe someone is at fault for you or a loved one’s injury, pursuing the negligence angle may be a good option.
Establishing Duty of Care
“Duty of care” is a legal phrase that comes up often in personal injury lawsuits. It’s a legal term that helps define the level of one’s responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of another person, and it’s the first step in pursuing a personal injury case based on negligence. Common pairings that involve higher standards of care include:
- Doctors and their patients
- Transportation operators and their passengers
- Teachers and their students
- Managers and their employees
Workers are generally obligated to avoid injuring their customers, and situations such as those above tend to have more specific guidelines. However, there are thousands of professions that don’t have specific legal regulations on the standard of care. By law, most people are expected to take “reasonable” steps to protect customers or passersby, but what is considered reasonable differs case by case. This can make pursuing a personal injury case difficult if the degree of liability is not agreed upon.
Once the duty of care is established, you have to prove that there was a breach. This simply means that the defendant did not meet that standard of care, either through action or inaction, thus directly causing your injury. In many situations, fault can be easy to determine. For example, if you were injured in an accident as a passenger of a taxi, you can prove your driver was at fault by testifying about any traffic violations your driver made. However, if the causes and effects are not obvious, it may be more difficult to prove liability. Presenting any evidence proving what the defendant did to breach their duty of care, such as police reports or medical records, is essential to helping you win your case.
Getting Expert Help
A personal injury lawyer who specializes in these types of claims will help you file your claim, defend your stance, and hopefully negotiate a settlement at the end of the process. Filing a lawsuit is no easy task, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the best case for yourself.