How to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
In the case of personal injuries, the most important concept which a victim (plaintiff) relies on is Negligence. If the plaintiff fails to show that his suffering or loss was the direct result of other person’s negligence, then he/she isn’t going to get any form of compensation. So, it is important to contact a Brampton Personal Injury Lawyer who can help you to stay strong in order to prove the other person’s negligence.
Whenever a person acts in a careless way or without taking others’ safety in consideration, then it is called negligence, and the person acting in such a way is to be held responsible for any repercussion. This is the most important requirement of any type of claim or lawsuit.
There are four elements of negligence such as:
a) Duty of Care: This is the first step of analyzing a negligence claim. Duty of care is related to what extent the defendant was obliged for the victim’s or other people’s safety. For example, if you’re a customer in a store, then it’s the storekeeper’s duty to prevent you from getting hurt from any hazardous thing, but if someone breaks in the store with the intention of stealing, then the storekeeper has no duty towards his safety.
On a highway, everyone is obliged to drive safely, follow all the traffic rules, and refrain from any activity that can lead to collisions.
A doctor obeys his duty of care by giving the right treatment to the patients.
Unfortunately, there are no precise laws which define duty of care for every single situation.
b) Duty Breach: After the duty of care has been assigned for the defendant, the next thing which needs to be proved is that the defendant violated his duty.
Duty breach refers to any action or inaction which wouldn’t have been done by any other prudent person in similar circumstances.
For instance, it is required for the storekeeper to mop or dry the spilt water and stop the customers from coming in until the water is gone. But if he doesn’t do any of these things, then it will be considered as a breach of duty.
As for another example, a driver has to drive under the speed limit and follow all the traffic rules, but if doesn’t act as required, then it will be the breach of duty. A doctor has to prescribe the right medicines, but if he doesn’t, then this also will be the breach of duty.
c) Causation: Just defining the duty of care and establishing that there had been a breach of duty are not enough. It has to be proved that the breach of duty actually resulted in the accident. For instance, if there’s spilt water on the floor, and a lady falls down and clamps her ankle because of her high heels, then the storekeeper cannot get sued. The plaintiff has to show that his/her injury was related to the action or inaction of the defendant. This is called causation, and there are two types of causations in civil law:
a) Cause in Fact: A cause, in fact, refers to the fact that if the defendant hadn’t breached his duty, the plaintiff wouldn’t have injured. What it means is that it was only the defendant’s action which caused the plaintiff’s injury.
For example, if a customer slips over the spilt water on the floor, then this would be a direct cause in fact. Had there been no water on the floor, there would have been no chance of falling.
b) Proximate Cause: This cause is taken into consideration when the accident appears to be the obvious result of the actions of the defendant. It also means that although the defendant’s breach was not directly related to injury, but the injury wouldn’t have happened had the breach not taken place.
For example, if the storekeeper neglects mopping of drying the spilled water and a customer falls, then this is the proximate cause. The storekeeper didn’t spill the water to make the customer fall, but if he had followed his duty, no one would’ve fallen.
d) Damage: This is the final stage of proving negligence in which the plaintiff has to prove that his/her financial and medical loss was a direct result of the defendant’s action. This includes the costs of medical treatment and also the loss of property.
For instance, in case of truck accidents, the plaintiff has to show the loss that occurred to his car, the costs of medical treatment, wage loss, and also the speculated cost of physical or mental trauma which he/she went through.