The Three Elements of Negligence
Are accidents unavoidable, or are they preventable? While many may consider this a philosophical question, it’s also one that is necessary to understand when it comes to the law. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 30.8 million Americans visit emergency rooms nationwide after unintentional injuries, and many of these victims seek out compensation in court.
How do courts determine who the liable party is in these situations? They attempt to discern which party’s negligence led to the accident. Below we’ll discuss the three basic elements of negligence.
A Duty of Care
To establish negligence, you’ll first have to prove that the defendant owed you some sort of duty of care. This duty of care usually means that the defendant and plaintiff had a relationship that required the defendant to act with regard to the other person’s safety. This duty of care may be applied to:
- Property owners
- Business owners
- Doctors or medical professionals
- Pet owners
Usually, defendants are not obligated to act with reasonable care for trespassers on private property.
A Breach of the Duty of Care
Next, the defendant must prove that the plaintiff breached their duty of reasonable care towards the plaintiff. This breach of duty means that the liable party failed to fulfill their obligation to the plaintiff. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accidents, a breach of duty may include behavior like:
- Driving recklessly
- Failing to notify customers about known dangers
- Failing to control a pet on public property
- Operating as a doctor while intoxicated
- Making a careless medical error
In essence, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was careless or acted without regard to their safety. In situations like medical malpractice, the question of what is considered “reasonable” care is usually debated throughout the case.
The Breach Caused Measurable Damages
Finally, this breach of the defendant’s duty of care must have caused measurable damages. The plaintiff must have suffered some form of losses to pursue a claim in court. In most cases, these losses stem from a physical injury caused by the accident. Losses may include medical bills, physical pain and suffering, prescription costs, lost wages and property damage. In serious cases, the defendant may be held liable for future medical costs or permanent disability costs.
Contact a Atlantic City Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Negligence Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to someone else’s negligence in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Brown Law represents clients injured because of negligence in Atlantic City and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-344-8270 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3123 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 201, Atlantic City, NJ 08401.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.