Every year, thousands of Californians are injured in accidents caused by the negligence of someone else. Many of these people end up pursuing a personal injury or negligence claim. There exist four different elements that must be demonstrated to prove negligence in a personal injury case, according to the Cornell University School of Law. These are:
- legal duty
- breach of legal duty
- proximate cause
- actual injuries, damages, or losses
The first element that must be proven in a personal injury case is the existence of a legal duty. What this means is that the person alleged to have caused an accident that gave rise to injuries must have a duty of reasonable care. For example, a person operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway has a legal duty to use reasonable care when driving.
Breach of Legal Duty
The next element that must be proven to establish negligence in a personal injury case is a breach of the legal duty by the party alleged to have caused the accident in question. The example of a motorist helps to illustrate what is meant by breach of duty. An automobile driver breaches a duty of care by driving through a red light.
In addition to demonstrating a legal duty and a breach of it what technically is known as proximate cause must be established to prove negligence. In basic terms, proximate cause means that the breach of a legal duty must be the actual and legal cause of the accident and injuries sustained. As part of establishing proximate cause, a demonstration must be made that the accident and resulting injuries were reasonably foreseeable by the individual said to have breached a duty of care. If a person runs through a red light, a reasonably foreseeable result is that the driver will collide with another vehicle that has the right of way causing injuries to passengers in that automobile.
Actual Injuries, Damages or Losses
The last element that must be proven to establish negligence when making a personal injury claim is actual injuries, damages, or losses. Injuries cannot be merely speculative. A person who desires to make a claim cannot contend that they may have some type of problem at a future point in time.
Retain an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
A key step in protecting your legal rights following an injury caused by an accident is retaining the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer like a member of the legal team at the Cartwright Law Firm. The attorneys at the Cartwright Law Firm have worked with many injured people in a myriad of different types of accident cases.
You can schedule an initial consultation with an attorney from the firm at your convenience. During an initial consultation, you will obtain an evaluation of your case. You will also be able to obtain answers to any questions that you have about your situation. There is no charge for an initial consultation.
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