The Key Elements of a Negligence Claim by a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney
The vast majority of personal injury claims are decided on the legal concept of negligence. What you may perceive as negligent behavior may differ from how it is regarded from a legal standpoint; in order to prove negligence, your Clearwater personal injury attorney will need to show that four specific elements apply.
The Four Elements of a Negligence Claim
It is unlikely that you or your Clearwater personal injury attorney will refer to the four key elements of a negligence claim when negotiating your case. An insurance adjuster is more likely to discuss who was at fault, whether you have a claim, and if so, how much it is worth. That said, the following elements are certainly understood by the adjuster, and if it is possible he will use these to undermine your claim.
- Duty of Care: A duty of care is created by virtue of the relationship of the defendant to the plaintiff. For instance, if the defendant is a motorist, he has an obligation not to drive in such a way that endangers others. A defendant who manages a grocery store may have an obligation to clean up a spill on the floor before someone slips and becomes injured from it. Duty of care can be difficult to show in some cases. In the example of the store manager, he must take what the law terms “reasonable” action to prevent an accident. However, he needs to have had time to clean the spill. There is no clear legal definition of what is a reasonable amount of time in which to do this.
- Breach of Duty: Once duty of care is established, you or your Clearwater personal injury attorney will then need to show that this duty was breached in some way. This means that the defendant acted or failed to act in such a way that he failed in his duty of care. Most personal injury claims hinge on this element.
- Causation: The breach then needs to be shown to have caused the injuries you suffered. The element of causation can be difficult to prove. For instance, proving causation can be hampered if the plaintiff also acted in a negligent way.
- Damages: Even if the defendant can be shown to have caused the accident through negligence, without some sort of damages you will not have a claim. Damages refer to the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. These can be physical and/or emotional injuries, damage to property, etc.
Contact Our Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney with Your Claim
A person who has suffered injury because of another’s negligence should strongly consider hiring a Clearwater personal injury attorney to help with the claim. Call the Coleman Law Firm today to set up an initial consultation at (727) 461-7474.