Personal Injury clients often ask what has to be proven in order to recover successfully in a personal injury lawsuit. While it is worth noting that many cases settle without ever having to prove these four elements, here they are:
If the plaintiff can’t establish all four of the elements in the typical personal injury lawsuit, and prove negligence, there is a chance they will recover nothing at all. When you look closely at the four elements required to recover on a claim, it makes sense that all four must be met.
The first question is whether the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. The typical duty of care is that one individual or company act toward others and the public with attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would. So it’s a question of whether the defendant’s behavior was reasonable, given the circumstances.
After establishing a duty existed, then it’s a question of whether that duty has been breached. Did the defendant act reasonably, as it relates to his or her interaction with the plaintiff? There are times where a plaintiff is injured, yet the person they are suing acted reasonably. It makes sense in those cases to bar a recovery from that particular defendant.
If you establish duty and a breach of duty, then you ask whether the defendant’s behavior was the cause of the harm the plaintiff experienced. Even if the defendant breached their duty, if that breach was not the direct cause of the plaintiff’s harm, then the defendant isn’t responsible for it.
Lastly, are there damages? Oddly, this comes up more often than you’d think in a personal injury claim. A plaintiff has to actually show that the behavior of the defendant caused damages. The plaintiff must be able to quantify those damages in order to make a demand of the defendant in the case for reimbursement or compensation.
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If you have any questions about a personal injury claim, or if you’d like an attorney to analyze your personal injury, please call 704.749.7747. The consultation is free.