The Elements the Plaintiff Has to Prove in a Personal Injury Case

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Let’s start the proceedings with some statistics.

  • 2 million people visit the emergency department for unintentional injuries
  • There were 224,935 preventable deaths in the US in 2021
  • Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 21% of all preventable injuries in 2021
  • There was a 13% increase in home deaths in 2021 when compared to 2020
  • 43% of all fatalities in 2019 were due to multi-vehicle collisions

The statistics above prove the current state of the US. Yes, some of them are a few years old, but the numbers are pretty scary. So, how do you prevent accidents?

Awareness! Awareness! Awareness!

Knowledge about how accidents happen will go a long way toward preventing them. But accidents still happen, through no fault of your own. In such instances, your best bet would be to visit a reputable law firm like Varner Faddis Elite Legal, LLC.

Consulting a law firm has multiple advantages. In addition to fighting for you, they’ll also explain what your options are according to personal injury law.

The term personal injury law is important here because a majority of accidents fall under this area of law.

So, what is personal injury law?

As said before, personal injury law is the area of law that specifies your rights if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or malicious thoughts.

Personal injury laws aren’t straightforward. You cannot just accuse someone of negligence and expect to get compensation.

You have to prove the elements that come under personal injury law.

So, what are the elements of personal injury law?

Personal injury law has four elements that victims need to prove. With these four elements, it becomes clear that the at-fault party was responsible for the accident and, therefore, responsible for the victim’s injuries.

There are four elements in personal injury law.

  1. Duty of Care
  2. Breach of Duty of Care
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

We’ll discuss each of them in detail.

Duty of Care

Every citizen has the duty of care not to harm another person. The moment an individual steps out of their home, they have the responsibility to not engage in activities that may cause harm to others.

For example, a car driver has the duty of care to follow the rules of the road and not cause harm to fellow motorists or others on the road. Similarly, a landlord has the duty of care to correct hazardous situations and make the premises a safe space for visitors.

On a similar note, the victim has to prove that the at-fault party had a certain duty of care in the incident that caused the victim’s injuries.

Breach of Duty of Care

Once the duty of care element has been proven, the next is a breach of duty of care. The first element establishes that the at-fault party owed the victim a duty of care. The second element talks about the failure to exercise this expected duty of care.

Consider the previous car driver and landlord examples. A driver who hits the road while intoxicated has breached the duty of care that they owe to other drivers. Similarly, the landlord, who was notified of a hazardous situation in their building but failed to rectify it, has breached the duty of care they owed to the visitors.

Causation

The next element is causation. The victim has to prove that the at-fault party’s breach of duty of care led to an incident that caused harm. The at-fault party’s inaction or recklessness resulted in the incident that was responsible for the victim’s injuries.

Let’s take the same car driver and landlord example. The drunk driver’s risky behavior on the road was the reason for the accident in which the victim was hurt. As for the landlord, the failure to clean up a spill was the cause of a slip-and-fall accident.

Damages

This is the final element of personal injury law. This element involves the victim having to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence was serious enough to injure them. In simple words, the at-fault party’s action or inaction caused harm to the victim.

Consider the driver and landlord example one last time.

The car driver breached his duty of care by driving under the influence of alcohol. This impairment forced them to drive in the wrong lane and ram into the victim’s car, causing serious injuries.

As for the landlord, repeated notifications from the visitors weren’t enough to remove the spill. A visitor ends up breaking their arm after slipping off the spill.

It is the victim’s responsibility to prove that they have suffered losses due to the at-fault party’s action or inaction.

Final Thoughts

Personal injury law can be pretty complex when you don’t know the basics. But some reading about the topic should help.

Be warned that reading doesn’t make you a lawyer. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, get in touch with a lawyer to find out what your next course of action should be.

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