Proving Negligence in Litigation

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Proving negligence during a civil law case takes a lot of work and four requirements must be met before negligence can be determined. An attorney will make it a lot easier to prove negligence because an attorney will know the four requirements to proving negligence and the best way to prove them for your specific case. Negligence is defined as conduct that is culpable because it falls short of what a reasonable person would do to protect another individual from foreseeable risks of harm. Negligence is not the same thing as carelessness because a person could be exuding as much care as possible in a certain situation but has still fallen below the level of competence expected of them.

Negligence falls under civil law and if a person is able to prove that their injury was caused by the negligence of another person then they will be able to obtain some sort of compensation for their injury. The compensation can be used for medical bills, medical treatment, pain and suffering, loss of wages and loss of consortium. Compensation from a negligence case can also be acquired for harm placed on a person’s piece of property, their mental well-being, their financial status or their intimate relationships. Proving negligence in a lawsuit that is completely based on negligence is critical to the decision that will be rendered. A lawsuit based on negligence can be filed against civilians such as a neighbor or family member or professionals such as a doctor or a lifeguard.

One of the most common forms of negligence cases that go through the court systems today in the United States is medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is when a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional does not administer the proper amount of healthcare required for certain situations. For instance, a doctor does not properly diagnose a form of cancer despite test results coming back positive and x-rays or MRIs also revealing that a tumor is in the patient’s body. The patient can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice, or negligence, against the doctor and his or her practice. The four criteria for proving negligence are:

  1. Duty: every citizen of the United States has a certain duty to prevent from causing any unnecessary harm to other people, property, and other things. Professionals such as doctors and lifeguards have a higher level of duty compared to civilians.
  2. Breach: this is when the defendant in a negligence case has breached the duty of theirs by either acting inappropriately or not acting at all.
  3. Causation: the plaintiff must now prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the injuries that the plaintiff is suffering from. The court will perform a range of tests that will help to determine if this is true or not.
  4. Damages: the final stage of proving negligence is that the plaintiff must prove that there were damages caused by the injuries and the damages do not need to be only monetary.

A plaintiff can suffer damages in many ways in a negligence case. Those ways are pain and suffering, extreme emotional distress, and loss of companionship. In order to hold someone accountable for an injury the plaintiff must also prove that there was some sort of loss as a result of the injury.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice or representation,
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