What is Negligence?

Proving Negligence Requires 4 Key Factors

Negligence is one word that is often interpreted in many different ways. To many people when someone simply fails to do something they are being negligent; however, the law often holds negligence to a much higher standard. The law defines negligence as conduct that falls below the standards of behavior for the protection of others against reasonable risk of harm. A person is seen as negligent when he or she fails to act as a reasonably prudent, or careful, person would in the same circumstances. In many civil litigation cases, negligence must be established before anything else. There are many different forms of negligence; the list is practically endless. A few examples of common lawsuits based on negligence are: medical malpractice, dental malpractice, hit and run accidents, slip and fall accidents, general auto collisions, etc. Because of its complexity, it is important to consult with a DC personal injury lawyer to help determine if negligence exists.

To prove negligence, four things must be present: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. First, the person must have a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person would. For example, if you are rear-ended while stopped at a stop light, typically, the person that rear-ended you was negligent for failing to drive in a reasonably prudent manner to avoid a collision. In this example, the driver that rear-ended you had the duty to take reasonable care (i.e. not to speed or text) while driving to avoid an accident. Second, the duty must be breached, meaning that the person failed to act as a reasonable person would in that circumstance. A reasonable driver would allow enough space in front of his or her car to be able to stop in time. Here, the driver failed to leave enough space to avoid the collision. Third, this breach of duty must have caused the injury. Therefore, your injury must be a direct result of the collision caused by the driver that failed to use reasonable caution. Finally, there must be an actual injury, or damages, as a result of the breach of duty. Injuries can be quantifiable through medical bills and property damage can be proven with pictures.

Negligence can result in injuries, to either yourself or someone else, and there are many different factors that go into the question of whether or not you have a case. If an accident occurs, and you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence, it is in your best interest to consult with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. You may be entitled to recover for any damages to your property, your injury, as well as pain and suffering.

If you have any questions, please call us today at 202-955-4529 to speak to a legal representative regarding your potential case.

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