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Personal injury law: what is negligence?

Most personal injury lawsuits revolve around negligence claims. Though negligence is the crux of a personal injury lawsuit, it can often be difficult to prove because it involves applying the elements of the claim to the facts of a case.

For a Washington State resident to succeed on a personal injury lawsuit, he or she must prove all the elements of negligence. The first step then is to prove that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. A duty exists when there is a relationship between the two parties requiring one party to act in a certain manner towards the other. The second element that must be proven is that the duty that was owed was breached. This means the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care while fulfilling his or her duty. A jury would be tasked with determining if the duty was breached.

The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant's actions were the actual cause of the injury, then show that those actions were also the proximate cause of the injury. This means that the harms that were caused by the defendant's actions could have been foreseen. If the harm is remote to the act, then proving this aspect may be difficult. Lastly, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered actual damage as a result of the defendant's actions or inaction. These damages often arise in the form of lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

A car crash or slip-and-fall accident on someone else's property can causes serious injuries to accident victims. The damages that result from these incidents can quickly become overwhelming, leaving many uncertain about their future. Fortunately, these accident victims don't have to face the matter alone. Instead, they can seek out help from an attorney who is experienced with personal injury law and who knows how to build a compelling negligence case.

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