Injuries that are caused by another person or entity’s careless or reckless actions may result in a personal injury claim. In order for a plaintiff to justifiably file a claim in the first place, there are certain requirements that need to be met. The absence of one or more of these components will likely result in the dismissal of a lawsuit.
The following are the four main elements which apply to personal injury claims:
- The presence of a duty – The first element your negligence needs to satisfy is the existence of someone’s legal duty to exercise reasonable care. In the case of a car accident, this duty can be as simple as obeying the laws and driving safely. In more complicated situations, such as premises liability, a person or company may have the duty to prevent injuries on their property.
- The breach of the duty – The second element is showing a failure to exercise reasonable care by the defendant. Even if there wasn’t an intent to harm someone, doing something careless does not negate the individual’s liability. Additionally, it is important to consider the victim’s own contribution to the accident. So if the victim was also negligent, it might reduce his or her recovery or deny recovery altogether.
- Causation – The third element is proving that the defendant’s actions were the cause of the plaintiff’s accident and injuries. Causation means that the failure to exercise reasonable care caused injury.
- Damages – The fourth and final element is proving that a plaintiff suffered damages, or losses, in order to recover compensation for the harm that they suffered. It is important to understand that injury doesn’t always have to be physical. Emotional distress and financial injuries are also grounds for a personal injury claim.