Cleveland Personal Injury Attorney Explains Elements of a Negligence Case October 3, 2012.
A Cleveland personal injury attorney understands the stress of being injured because of someone else’s negligence. Not only must you deal with the physical and emotional healing process, but now you have to file a personal injury claim, too.
If you hope to have any chance of receiving compensation for the injuries you have suffered, you will need to put together a strong case. In order to do this, you will need to prove that negligence was the cause.
Negligence is established through four elements. If any of these are missing or not proven, it may lead to either denial or diminishment in value of your personal injury claim.
Elements of Negligence
Duty of Care
The first element is showing that the party being named in your claim owed you a duty of care. In a medical malpractice case, this could be a doctor. In a defective products case, it could be the manufacturer. In a car accident, it could be another driver.
The duty of care simply means that reasonable care should have been exercised to prevent harm or injury. A doctor owes a duty of care to his or her patient, a manufacturer to the consumer, and a motorist to other drivers.
Breached Duty of Care
The second element of a negligence case is that the duty of care that was owed was violated or breached. So with a doctor, it could be that the wrong medication was prescribed. With a manufacturer, a breach could be a failure to include warnings and age requirements on a toy. When the breach involves a motorist, it could be that the driver got behind the wheel while intoxicated.
The third element is proving that, as a result of the actions of the other party, you experienced injuries. Just because a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, it doesn’t necessarily warrant filing of a personal injury claim.
The wrongful or careless actions must have caused harm or injury. So in this example, if the wrong medication was given and it led to the patient becoming very sick and requiring hospitalization, a claim may be filed.
If another driver runs a red light but only damages your car, you wouldn’t have a personal injury case. However, if after running a red light the other car smashed into yours and it resulted in broken bones, then you could file a personal injury claim.
The final element is showing that you suffered damages, in other words, you experienced expenses or losses that entitle you to file a claim, like:
- significant medical bills;
- missed time from work;
- loss of transportation.
If no damages were present, you may not be entitled to recover compensation through a claim. While a few bumps and bruises may technically be considered injuries, if you did not actually experience any damages as a result, then this element is not met and you may not be able to recover compensation.
Seeking Help from a Cleveland Personal Injury Attorney
Pursuing a personal injury claim can be a complicated and time-consuming process. You will need to have enough evidence that shows someone else’s negligence was the cause of your serious injuries and each of the elements will need to be proven.
If you are unsure of whether your case meets all four elements of negligence, consult a Cleveland personal injury attorney at Mellino Law Firm, LLC. We can evaluate your case to determine if your claim is valid and if it is worth pursuing. Take advantage of the free consultation we offer by calling (440) 333-3800.