Showing That the Defendant Breached the Duty of Care
When you have been hurt because of the wrongful actions of another person, you have a right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for all your losses, including personal injury and property damage. While you can always take legal action when the intentional acts of another person cause you harm, as a practical matter, most personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence.
To successfully prove negligence in a court of law, you must convince the court that:
• The defendant(s) failed to meet the expected standard of care
• That failure caused an accident
• As a result of the accident, you suffered actual loss
The Standard of Care in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
As a general rule, the laws governing personal injury are not statutes, but have evolved through what is known as the “common law,” found in opinions rendered by judges. Under the common law, all persons in society have a duty to act as a reasonable person would in any endeavor in which they are involved, whether driving a car, maintaining their property, manufacturing a product or providing a service. To succeed in a claim for compensation for personal injury based on negligence, you must first show that the defendant’s behavior failed to meet that standard, i.e., was not reasonable.
There is, however, no clear standard for what is considered reasonable. That determination is made by the judge or jury on a case-by-case basis. The courts are, however, required to give weight and consideration to prior rulings, so there is some consistency in the outcome of personal injury litigation.
Once you have successfully demonstrated that the defendant breached the duty to use reasonable care, you must establish a causal link between the breach and the accident that resulted in your losses. We will address causation in Part Two of this series.
Contact Our Office
For a private consultation with an experienced and proven New Jersey personal injury lawyer, call us at 973-346-2742 or contact us online. Appointments are available evenings and weekends, if necessary. Our offices are conveniently located in Springfield, Newark and Bedminster, and we’ll travel to your home or the hospital for a consultation. We welcome all major credit cards. Nosotros Hablamos