Examining the Duty of Care Element in Negligence Cases
Many personal injury claims are based on the legal theory of negligence. A party’s injuries usually stem from the negligent action or inaction of the other party. A victim who is hurt through no fault of their own can recover from the negligent party. A personal injury attorney will fight to hold the negligent party accountable so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Whatever the circumstances are surrounding your personal injury, we have skilled attorneys to handle your case. For example, if you were injured in a car accident our dedicated car accident attorneys will work diligently to prove all the elements necessary to have a successful negligence case.
Elements of Negligence
There are multiple elements that must be proven in a negligence case in order to have a successful claim in court. Each of the elements must be proven. The elements are:
- Duty: The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act.
- Cause in Fact: But for the defendant’s failure to meet their duty of care, the plaintiff would not have been injured.
- Proximate Cause: The defendant’s actions or inactions were the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
- Damages: The plaintiff was harmed, actually injured and suffered some loss because of the defendant’s breach.
In Depth Look at Element #1- Duty
Element number one is duty of care. The first step in assessing a negligence claim, is to determine whether or not the defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care. There are two types of duties that a defendant may owe a plaintiff. The first is called general duty of care. This is simply a duty to act as a reasonable person, under similar circumstances, would act. In a negligence case, you look at the defendant’s actions and determine if a reasonable person would have acted the same way as the defendant had the reasonable person been in the same situation as the defendant. If it is concluded that the defendant’s behavior and actions match that of a reasonable person’s behavior and actions, then the defendant met his duty of care. If the defendant’s actions are lower than those of a reasonable person then the defendant breached his duty of care.
The second duty is a special duty that is based on case law and statutes. This special duty may exist in addition to the general duty of care or in place of the general duty of care standard. To determine if a special duty exists you must examine the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant. You then evaluate whether or not, based on their relationship, the plaintiff was owed a special duty of care from the defendant. A common example is the doctor-patient relationship. A doctor owes a special duty of care to act with reasonable care because of his relationship with the patient.
Get Compensation for Your Injury
Proving a negligence lawsuit can be complicated. All of the elements of a negligence claim must be proven and failing to prove an element means you do not have a valid negligence claim. Gunther Law Office has vast experiences handling negligence lawsuits. Let a qualified, dedicated Minneapolis personal injury attorney maximize your recovery. We will analyze the details and facts of your injury claim to generate a customized strategy specific to your case. You can rest assured that you will owe no attorney fees unless we win your case.