If you were injured by someone else’s actions recently, you probably have a lot of questions. This is a situation that most people never end up in, so it is natural to be a little lost. Even the simplest aspects can be very confusing for someone who has never considered them. This guide will go over the definition of negligence. If you are hoping to prove that someone else is responsible for causing the injuries you suffered, you need to prove that they acted negligently.
Proving that someone acted negligently essentially involves proving that someone had a responsibility to act a certain way, failed to act in that way, and the failure to act in that way caused your injury. However, proving negligence legally is a very specific thing. There are four components that each must be proven independently. Someone’s actions were only negligent if each and every one of these components is true. The four components are:
The first component is duty. Before you can prove that an action was negligent, you need to establish what the person’s duty was. This is essentially just a socially reinforced obligation to act a certain way. For example, every driver has a duty not to drive while intoxicated. If an average person would reasonably expect this behavior, then it is a duty.
The second component is breach. Once you have established what the duty of the other person was, you need to prove that this duty was breached. In order for an action to be negligent, there needs to be some failure to meet a duty. If someone did everything a reasonable person would expect, then the law expects nothing more from them.
The third component is causation. Once you have established that a duty was breached, you must show that it was the direct cause of your injury. Even if someone breaches their duty, the action was not negligent unless it caused an injury or made the injury more likely. It is possible for a breach of duty to be coincidental to the injury.
The fourth component is damage. Essentially, you must establish the damages you suffered. In a personal injury case, the damages are your injury. The damages must be real and significant.
Proving legal negligence may be more complicated than you were expecting. You may also notice that each component builds upon the previous one, making each even more important. This is why you should leave it up to a personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, CA to argue whether someone acted negligently.
Thanks to the Morales Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and the legal definition of negligence.