If you are pursuing a personal injury case in court, you’re sure to hear the word “negligence” come up quite a bit. This term can be complex to define, and the way it comes into play with your case will determine how your personal injury lawyer pursues the case and what kind of payout you get at the end.
Negligence is the basis for how someone will be held responsible for your injury. From workplace injuries to car accidents to slip and fall incidents, personal injury law firms need to determine if someone’s negligence was at fault for what happened to you. But what exactly does negligence mean, and what are the different ways that it can apply? Read on to learn more about this cornerstone of personal injury law.
What Does Negligence Mean?
In simple terms, “negligence” means that someone acted, or failed to act, in a way that directly or indirectly caused your injury. The person being held negligent must have reasonably been able to foresee the consequences of his or her actions and the potential for harm to befall someone as a result. Purposefully ignoring safety standards at work, neglecting to clear ice off of a public walkway, or performing incorrect or incomplete repairs on a motor vehicle are all examples of actions that could clearly result in an injury or unfortunate consequence.
If no one can be found negligent with regards to your personal injury, you may not have a legal case. When an accident happens, sometimes it’s simply an accident with no one to blame. But if you believe that your injury could have been prevented and someone failed to take action to protect you, be sure that you get the best personal injury lawyer who will work tirelessly to determine and prove negligence in your case.
Types of Negligence
Negligence can be broken down further into simple negligence vs. gross negligence. Simple negligence is defined as a failure to take reasonable care to prevent a potential accident. However, gross negligence is when a person acts with conscious and voluntary disregard for safety. Though the line separating the terms can be quite a gray area, the general implication is that simple negligence was an act of carelessness, while gross negligence carries with it a connotation of intentional wrongdoing.
If evidence of gross negligence can be found in your case, this will have a major impact on the compensation you receive.
There are four parts to any legal negligence claim, and all must be proven by your injuries lawyer for you to win your case. They are as follows:
- Duty: it must be proven that the person found at fault had a legal duty to the plaintiff
- Breach: the defendant breached his or her legal duty by acting or failing to act in a specific way
- Causation: the defendant’s actions can be proven to have caused the plaintiff’s injuries
- Damages: the plaintiff was indeed harmed by the actions taken by the defendant.
Timothy C. Moynahan is the CEO and owner of Moynahan Partners, which offers business development consultancy, identifying strategic business partnerships and funding sources. He founded and heads the Moynahan Law Firm, Waterbury, Connecticut. He is a sought-after and successful trial lawyer, earning the Super Lawyer of New England and Connecticut awards from 2009 to 2012 and Best Criminal Defense Attorney accolade in 2013.