If someone causes intentional harm to you that led to the damage of your property or physical injury, it’s usually not that difficult to prove your case in court. However, if you experience injuries, property damage, or the death of a loved one because of the irresponsible behavior of someone else, this is classified as negligence.
Negligence may not be easy to prove in a court of law. If you’re facing a legal situation in which negligence was involved, here are some important points to remember as you work through your case with an attorney.
Types of Negligence
There are two ways negligence is classified for legal purposes: ordinary negligence and gross negligence. There is a difference between the two, although the general meaning of negligence is the failure to use proper caution and care that a person of sound mind would use in similar situations. In most cases involving negligence, a distraction or careless mistake can cause injury, and in some instances, loss of life.
When someone fails to take the necessary precautions to prevent causing harm to someone else, their behavior is considered negligent. Examples of this would be when a driver runs a stop sign and causes an accident or when a store owner doesn’t put a “wet floor” sign up for customers to see, and a shopper slips and falls.
In these situations, the liable party didn’t purposely cause harm to others. However, their carelessness caused an accident. The person liable for the accident may still be legally responsible for the incident and all damages caused by the accident.
If you’re the victim of ordinary negligence, you can go through a civil lawsuit so you can recover the compensation you deserve for lost wages, damage to your property, medical bills, or any other costs connected to the accident. Depending on the nature of the case, you may also be able to sue for pain, suffering, or mental anguish.
Gross negligence is defined as extreme and evident reckless disregard or indifference to the well-being of others. Gross negligence is intentional behavior done with no regard for the safety of other individuals. Examples of this include a doctor giving medication to a patient, even though the patient’s medical records indicate that the patient is allergic to the medication, or a driver speeding in a high pedestrian area.
It is also important to note that while most automobile accidents fall under ordinary negligence, an accident caused by a drunk driver can be classified as gross negligence. Since the defendant’s deliberate actions caused harm or property damage, the settlement for a gross negligence case is usually higher. The settlement includes punitive damages that are designed to punish the defendant for his/her actions.
If you were injured in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, you have to prove four factors in your case.
- Duty, which indicates that the defendant owed you the responsibility to take the right precautions to shield you from harm
- Breach, which indicates that the defendant failed to perform that duty
- Causation, which proves that the action or inaction of the defendant caused your injuries
- Damages, which proves you or your property were harmed in the accident
If you can prove these four elements, you’ll likely have a substantial personal injury lawsuit and receive settlement funds for your lost wages, medical bills, and property repair or replacement.
If you’re a victim of an accident or injury that was caused by negligence, working with an attorney as soon as possible is best. You can get some costs reimbursed e.g. medical costs if your injury was caused by someone else.
Your lawyer will work with any insurance companies involved so you won’t have to worry about being intimidated into accepting a lower settlement than you deserve. Having an attorney on your side will increase the chances that you’ll get the settlement you deserve.