Proving Negligence: Important Elements of a Personal Injury Case

Our justice system recognizes and understands that victims who are injured as a result of someone else’s conduct should not be forced to carry the burden of their losses. That’s why our justice system provides victims and their families with a legal pathway to hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions and then also hold them liable financially for any damages they may have caused. However, just because these pathways are built into the system doesn’t always mean that they are easy to understand and navigate. They also don’t guarantee that victims will receive the financial compensation they are entitled to (or even any compensation at all).

Working with an experienced, professional personal injury lawyer can help to provide you with the best chance for winning your case. When it comes to these complicated personal injury cases, the entire case will typically hinge on a legal concept known as negligence. Each case is different, but the general moving parts of a negligence case are:

Duty – for a negligence case to have merit, a duty between the victim and at-fault party must have existed. A duty of care can exist in a variety of ways, which include the duty of property owners to ensure that their facilities and premises are safe for their visitors and also the duty of vehicle drivers to ensure that their actions don’t cause harm to others.

Breach of Duty – after establishing that a duty of care exists, claims must then prove that the legal duty has been breached, which is typically a result of careless or wrongful negligent acts. Showing the breach of duty convincingly and clearly is critical in personal injury cases. Breaching duty can vary on a case-by-case basis. Drunk drivers for example may breach duty to take reasonable measures to ensure people on the road are kept free from harm, as driving while drunk is clearly established as a dangerous act.

Causation – For an accident victim to have a strong claim for financial compensation, it must be proven that the at-fault party’s breach of their duty clearly caused harm to the victim, rather than some other action or other party, which is what the defendant will typically argue. This causation must be proven through evidence – showing that the breach of duty that was committed has “more likely than not” resulted in harm to the victim.

Damages – finally, the victim must show that their damages or injuries they suffered are significant and would require the negligent party to be liable to pay. Damages can include financial, physical, or emotional injuries (or all three).

By clearly establishing the elements of fault and liability, you can then pursue fair compensation for your injuries, which can include your medical bills, suffering, lost wages, and more. It’s important to remember that all insurance companies representing at-fault parties are in business to make money, and so they will usually go to incredibly great lengths to defend against your claim and protect their bottom line.

At Bill Hotz and Associates, our Knoxville, TN personal injury lawyers have the experience and resources to help you craft an effective personal injury claim and fight for your rights. We’ve been doing it for over 30 years. Give us a call today to discuss your case.