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Understanding the Role of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

Posted on in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Waukegan personal injury attorneysIf you or a loved one have been injured, you may wonder whether or not you will be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim. The vast majority of personal injury cases hinge upon the concept of negligence. The word “negligence” is typically understood to mean carelessness or recklessness, but the legal definition is much more specific. In order to prove that a party’s negligence led to your injuries, you will need to demonstrate several things..

Duty and Breach of Duty

When a party has a legal “duty of care” to another party, it means that there is a certain relationship between the parties. For example, doctors and nurses have a duty to provide reasonably competent medical treatment to patients in their care. Similarly, commercial property owners have a duty to keep premises safe for customers. When this duty is breached, it means that the party that owed a duty failed to uphold their responsibility, and such a failure could constitute negligence.

Cause in Fact and Proximate Cause

In order to bring a successful personal injury lawsuit based on negligence, you will also need to prove that the defendant’s action or inaction resulted in your injuries. This is sometimes referred to as “but-for” causation, meaning if it were not for the defendant’s actions, the injury would not have occurred. Medical records are often a crucial element in proving cause in fact. You will need to show that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions and were not preexisting. 

Proximate cause refers to the idea that a defendant in a personal injury case is only legally responsible for injuries that he or she could have prevented. An example of this might be an injury you sustained by tripping over a broken floor tile in an office building or store. If an injury was caused by an event that was unforeseeable, the defendant is not likely to be considered negligent.

Damages and Compensation

The term “damages” refers to the financial harm caused by the injury. In order to bring a successful personal injury claim, you will need to demonstrate the losses caused by the incident. For example, a person injured in a car accident may have expensive medical bills and lost income caused by the accident. Other available damages may include financial consideration for pain and suffering, as well as permanent scarring, disfigurement, and a reduced quality of life. 

Contact a Waukegan Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. to learn more about your options for compensation. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lake County personal injury attorney from our firm by calling us at 847-662-3303 today.




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