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How Is Negligence Determined in a Personal Injury Case?

Unfortunately, accidents – slips and falls, traffic collisions, and medical errors, among others - happen every day. If someone else was responsible for the harm a victim suffered, the injured individual could pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party to recover compensation for damages. In many of these types of cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. So what is negligence, and how is it established?

Negligence can be defined as a person’s failure to act in a way that a reasonable individual would have in a similar situation. When demonstrating that a defendant’s behavior was reckless, the plaintiff must show that they owed them a duty of care, they breached that duty, the plaintiff suffered an injury as a result, and the breach caused the harm.

Let’s take a look at each of those a bit further:

Duty of Care

The plaintiff must prove that there was a legal duty for the defendant to act in a certain way under the circumstances. For example, in Tennessee, drivers are required to obey traffic laws to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

Breach of Duty

After establishing that the defendant owed due care, the plaintiff must then show that the defendant breached that duty. Returning to the traffic safety example, if a motorist is texting while driving, which is illegal in Tennessee, they have breached their duty of care.

The Breach Caused Injury

Next, the plaintiff must prove that because the defendant breached their duty, they caused an accident. That means there must be a link between the negligence and resulting injury. A plaintiff couldn’t sue a person who was texting while driving if the act had nothing to do with a fender bender that happened one lane away from the texter.

The Accident Resulted in Damages

Lastly, the plaintiff needs to show that they suffered losses and/or expenses because of the accident. That could be economic damages, such as medical bills, or non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

Call Eldridge & Blakney at (865) 999-0350 for a Free Consultation

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, our attorneys are ready to provide the compassionate yet fierce legal representation you need. Understanding the frustrations involved in these types of cases, we will be by your side every step of the way, explaining the process and next steps. Backed by over 90 years of combined experience, we know how to establish negligence and develop compelling legal strategies. We will fight hard to work toward recovering just compensation on your behalf.

Get started today by calling us at (865) 999-0350 or contacting us online.