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Proving Fault: The Four Elements of Negligence

Negligence is one of the most common types of personal injury cases and is defined as a failure to behave appropriately that results in injury or property damage. Negligence must be proven before a company, person, or other entity can be held legally responsible for an act. How do negligence cases work, and what must be proven in order to have a case? Today, we’ll discuss the four elements of negligence, what they mean, and how to establish evidence. 

What Are the Four Elements?

  1. Duty: First, the defendant must be shown to have a legal duty of care, meaning they had a responsibility to provide adequate care to the plaintiff.
  2. Breach: By acting carelessly or failing to provide appropriate care, the defendant has breached the care they owed to the plaintiff.
  3. Causation: The defendant’s actions have been shown to directly or indirectly cause harm to a person or property.
  4. Damages: The plaintiff has suffered injury or harm due to the defendant’s actions.

Next, let’s walk through how all of these elements work together for your case. 

Proving Fault Using the Four Elements

Duty is considered the legal obligation to provide a particular standard of care. The specific kind of relationship between two individuals may warrant an expectation of care. Examples of this relationship include a doctor and patient, a teacher and a young student, or a landlord and a tenant. 

Now, once the duty of the defendant has been established, we must show how that duty has been breached. A breach of duty means that the standard of care was not fulfilled based upon the relationship between the parties and what a “reasonable person” would expect. If an average, reasonably prudent person was aware of the risk of the actions taken and would have acted differently, then the defendant would likely be guilty of negligence.

Even if the defendant’s actions were negligent, we still have to prove causation. In other words, we need to show that the defendant’s negligence caused harm to the plaintiff. Another way to look at this is to consider if the defendant could have reasonably foreseen that the injury would happen and that it wasn’t just some random, unexpected occurrence. 

Finally, damages. The court will now be required to compensate for the victim’s injuries typically through a financial settlement to pay for medical care or property repair. 

Need Help Proving Fault? Kevin Crooks, PLLC may be able to help. 

Suffering an injury due to someone else’s negligence can leave you feeling broken and in dire need of legal representation. In a time of crisis, trust the attorneys at Kevin Crooks, PLLC for reliable legal advice. Our dedicated legal team has a wide range of experience dealing with personal injury cases in the Louisville, KY area. 

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