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Home > Articles > Proving Negligence

What You Need to Prove in a Negligence Case

If you or someone you love has been injured because of the actions, or failure to act, of someone else, and you believe that this other person or persons were negligent and/or reckless in their conduct that led to the injuries in question, you may have a valid personal injury claim that should be pursued. If you contact the Waukesha personal injury attorneys at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, your attorney will not only meet with you for a free initial consultation, but he or she will also apply the facts of your situation to the legal standards that must be proven if your case were to proceed to trial. Below is a brief look at the negligence standard, and it contains four related elements.

1. Duty

It is well established that when people are interacting with others, they owe a duty of care to those around them. This means that every person must avoid conduct that places others in foreseeable and unreasonable danger of harm. If the presence of this duty is proven, your case can proceed to the next element.

2. Breach

After you've proven that a duty exists, you must then prove that the defendant breached that duty. The most common standard used in court to determine whether or not a person breached the duty of care is called the “reasonable person” standard. Basically, this means that you must show that the defendant did not act in a way that the majority of other reasonable people would act, and this is often a factual question for the jury.

3. Causation

The element of causation is by far the most complicated within the realm of personal injury law. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant's breach of duty led, either directly or indirectly, to the injuries that you suffered. There are several different legal “tests” in place to determine causation, and the judge will usually instruct the jury as to how to determine causation.

4. Damages

Finally, if you prove the first three elements present in the negligence standard, you must show actual damages. These do not necessarily need to be limited to lost wages or medical costs, as they can include such damages as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship and other less tangible forms of damages than bills and lost income. The law clearly states that without damages, there can be no viable claim.

As you see, there is quite a bit involved with proving a claim of negligence in a personal injury lawsuit. You should also understand that this is not a situation that you should attempt to handle yourself. Contact a Waukesha personal injury lawyer at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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