Injuries occur every day. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Most personal injuries are based on negligence—the failure to exercise due care. Negligence has four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty: While there are heightened duties in certain relationships, such as common carriers with passengers, the general standard for duty of care is that of the “ordinary reasonable person.” An ordinary reasonable person/business is observant, responsive, and cautious.
Breach: Breach is the failure to comply with required duties. For example, an ordinary reasonable retail establishment would maintain its floors in a safe manner. If a patron entered the establishment and falls, the store may have breached its duty if the floors are wet and/or littered with debris. Likewise, if the driver of an automobile fails to stop at a red light, the driver has breached his or her required duty.
Causation: Causation is the connection between the defendant’s action, or lack thereof, and the resulting harm. To impose liability, the resulting harm must be “reasonably foreseeable” to the defendant, i.e., something one would expect to happen given the circumstances.
Damages: Damages represent a harm done to an individual, e.g., broken bones, cuts, sprains, property damage, lost wages, etc. Recovery often exceeds actual expenses, can fluctuate based on severity of lasting complications, and can include pain and suffering.
All of the above four (4) elements are necessary to establish negligence.
If you believe you have been injured by the negligence of another, please contact us for a no obligation consultation.
Stay tuned for next month’s posting on commercial transactions—large and small!