Understanding Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

September 25, 2015

Understanding Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

The legal definition of negligence is the failure on someone’s part to use reasonable care that results in harm to someone else or damage to property. There are really two different forms. The first is when a person does something that a reasonable person wouldn’t do that causes harm. The other is when a person fails to do something that a reasonable person would do in order to prevent harm or damage. Both forms can result in a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible. Here’s some more info on negligence.

The most common forms of negligence arise in car accidents or “slip and fall” cases. Regardless of how the accident occurred, there are key elements common to all negligence cases that must be proven:

  1. The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff or the general public
  2. The defendant breached that duty
  3. The defendant’s breach was the cause of the injury to the plaintiff
  4. A reasonable person could foresee the injury happening
  5. There’s enough substantial damage to file a claim

injured patientYou are entitled to compensation if you’ve suffered due to negligent behavior. What you can recover depends on the kinds of damages you’ve suffered. Here are the common types of damages involved in a negligence case:

  • Medical expenses (both current and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity – Especially in the event that you’re permanently disabled as a result of the injury, if your ability to earn money in the future is impaired or diminished, you can recover damages
  • Loss of consortium – This is where you’re compensated for how your relationships have suffered as a result of your injury
  • Pain and suffering – When placing a monetary value on pain, the courts consider the nature of the injury, the certainty and severity of future pain and how long the pain is likely to last
  • Loss of enjoyment of life – Often included under pain and suffering, this means that the plaintiff has a diminished ability to enjoy the day-to-day pleasures of life

Arizona state law has time limits on filing negligence cases. If you’ve sustained an injury due to negligence, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Call Schenk Podoslky for a free consultation about your case.