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Laws are very specific about how to prove negligence in an injury case. To prove negligence, you must prove four elements:
A plaintiff will need to prove these in order to have a successful claim. In a personal injury case, “negligence” refers to one party’s careless or reckless behavior that resulted in harm to another party. That means the careless person is legally liable for the injuries suffered by the other person. Most legal disputes use this method in personal injury cases for assessing and determining fault.
If you’ve suffered an injury at the hands of a negligent person or business, the personal injury lawyers at Cadwell Wenzel & Asthana can assess your case and explain your legal options. For a free initial consultation, call us at (251) 444-7000.
Now, let’s take a closer look at these four elements and find out more about what they mean. To win a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove:
The defendant owes the plaintiff a legal “duty of care” in the specific circumstances of the case. For example, in a slip-and-fall case, a store owner owes a legal duty to clean up spills promptly and keep aisles clear of debris. Otherwise, customers could fall and get injured. Similarly, a driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to be sober and not drink alcohol excessively before getting behind the wheel, because not to do so would put other motorists at extreme risk of an accident and injury. Duty is a legal obligation.
A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty by doing, or failing to do, something that a reasonably prudent person would most certainly have done in a similar situation. The reasonable person standard is central to negligence cases and other legal claims and is designed to determine whether a defendant used reasonable care in the degree of caution and concern he or she exhibited regarding the safety of others.
In these cases, it’s not enough for a defendant to be acting negligently, but you must show that their negligence caused the accident or mishap that resulted in your injury. Texting while driving and failing to use a leash when walking a dog that is prone to biting are examples of irresponsible behavior; but if the defendant did these things but caused no injury to you, then you likely don’t have a negligence claim. Also, the defendant must have been able to reasonably foresee that their behavior could cause you injury. For example, if you visit a neighbor’s house and encounter their cats, which causes you to go into anaphylactic shock because you’re allergic to felines, this not necessarily an injury that your neighbor could have foreseen. Causation is an essential element of a negligence claim.
Damages means that there’s a monetary way of compensating a plaintiff for their injuries. For example, damages could be awarded to cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, or burial costs in wrongful death claims. In some cases, a court can also award punitive damages, which are designed to punish a company or individual for behavior that was grossly negligent or harmful. These damages are designed to send a warning and have a chilling effect on any other company or person who may be tempted to exhibit similar behavior.
The issue of fault hinges on the legal concept of “negligence,” and proving negligence requires that a plaintiff conclusively address the above four elements.
Whether or not it is hard to prove negligence depends almost entirely on the facts in a case. While in many cases it is relatively easy to prove the four elements of duty, breach, causation and damages, in other cases the facts might be more complicated or murky, and the claim will have to be litigated in court in front of a judge and jury. That’s why it’s so important to hire a personal injury lawyer who is not afraid of litigation. You don’t want a shrinking violet when it comes to attorneys – someone who is willing to settle at all costs rather than enter the courtroom. At Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana, our attorneys are tough and experienced litigators who do not back down from a fight.
The statute of limitations on personal injury claims in Alabama is two years from the date of the injury. So if you’ve been injured in a car wreck, on-the-job accident or due to a fall in a retail establishment, the time to act is now so you can get the justice you deserve.
In addition to being aggressive advocates for our clients, we’re also legally skilled and compassionate. We take every case personally and are invested in its outcome. We have proven case results that show we know how to win meaningful settlements and jury awards. You can read our attorney bios and find out more about our team of bright and experienced lawyers. We come highly recommended, and our client testimonials provide strong word-of-mouth referrals. Our attorneys live and work in our Alabama community, and we care about what happens here.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence and are facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, months of rehabilitation, disability or worse, then you may have a legal remedy. It’s not fair that you should bear all these burdens alone, especially if your injury was someone else’s fault. Let the skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana take on the insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve. We have a record of success in these types of claims, and we know how to build a formidable case. With one free phone call, we can assess your claim, answer your questions, and explain your legal options. Call us today at (251) 444-7000.