Negligence is a legal phenomenon that can best be described as the failure of a person or organization to fulfill a given degree of care to another party which a reasonable person would have done. It may involve a sequence of actions that lead to the wrong or omission of a series of actions without which the incident occurred.
Negligence is the most common tort sought after in civil cases. However, trying to prove negligence in court is a daunting endeavor. Negligence has four primary elements that a plaintiff must prove to win a negligence suit.
Facts About Negligence Case
Duty of Care
Duty of care is the obligation of a person or institution prescribed by law or their relationship to another party. For example, a doctor owes their patient a duty of care when providing medical attention and thus, should give the very best of their ability as a parent to their child.
Three grounds determine whether a duty of care exists in a given scenario. First is proximity and in a negligence case the plaintiff must establish clearly the relationship between the defendant or their actions and themselves. Secondly is whether it is fair to impose a duty of care on the defendant. Foreseeability is whether a person knew or ought to have known whether their actions would lead to damage.
Breach of Duty
Breach of duty falls below a standard of care prescribed by the law. The standard of care falls under two categories; ordinary people and professionals have different standards of care. Ordinary people’s standard of care is tested under a reasonable person in the same circumstance, also known as the reasonable person’s test. In contrast, professionals are judged against a professional’s opinion within their professional organization.
An action is considered negligent if it results in tangible injury. For example, a plaintiff cannot claim action is negligent if it did not cause harm to them. Negligence can cause damage to property or physical injury to a person. Moreover, the defendant failing to exercise reasonable care is not enough to prove negligence, but there must be an actual injury to the plaintiff’s property. A plaintiff must bring a claim regarding personal injury before a court within the period prescribed by law.
Causation means that the negligent action led to the harm the plaintiff claims. For one to show causation, the injury must not follow a series of events that do not directly link the negligent action to the harm caused. This means that the negligent action done by the defendant must be the immediate cause of the damage the plaintiff claims.
There might be one or multiple causes of the injury, and judges consider such factors when awarding damages. For example, if there are two causes, the damages will be divided proportionately between those who have caused the injury.
Negligence is one of the most common torts and one of the most challenging aspects to prove in law. However, the four elements of negligence make the process of prosecuting and defending against negligence by officers of the court.