If you can prove the person who caused your injuries was negligent, grossly negligent, or intentional in causing your injuries, you can sue for negligence.
In a civil case, the plaintiff you must prove that the defendant the person who caused your injuries was negligent. An accident attorney and their team investigate your case to determine whether they believe that the defendant was negligent and then can open settlement negotiations or file a lawsuit against the defendant’s insurance company. If the defendant does not have auto insurance or hazard insurance for their property, you can pursue compensation from the defendant directly.
Other Types of Negligence
The law recognizes gross negligence when awarding punitive damages. Gross negligence is when the defendant’s actions or inactions are so negligent that the risk of injuring someone is extreme, yet the defendant continued those actions or inactions.
Another type of negligence criminal negligence is not used in civil law, such as personal injury and accident cases. When a person is criminally negligent, they knew (or should have known) that their acts would cause a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to the plaintiff.
A common form of negligence is vicarious liability. You can hold someone liable for the actions of another. The most common occurrence of vicarious liability is when a plaintiff holds an employer liable for its employee’s negligent actions or inactions. Another example is holding a person liable for his pet’s actions.
Five Elements Needed to Prove Negligence
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions were negligent. In addition to photos, videos, police reports, and other forms of evidence, the plaintiff must also “prove” the five elements of negligence.
To establish negligence, the plaintiff must prove several elements:
- ●That the defendant had a duty to act with a certain standard of care that any reasonable person could expect. For example, someone driving on the highway should not drive recklessly or aggressively, including speeding.
- ●That the defendant breached the duty of providing the standard of care. Continuing the above example, the defendant was driving 95 mph in a 75 mph zone.
- ●That the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injuries because of the lack of standard of care. The defendant lost control of his vehicle because of the high rate of speed and sideswiped the plaintiff.
- ●That the average person could have foreseen that their actions or inactions (breach of duty) would cause harm or injury to the plaintiff. The defendant knew or should have known that driving 95 in a 75 mph zone could cause him to lose control of his vehicle, potentially causing an accident and injuries to others on the road.
- ●That the plaintiff suffered damages (injuries) because of the defendant’s negligent actions or inactions. The plaintiff suffered injuries, including catastrophic injuries when the crash caused her vehicle to smash into a truck and then into a bridge abutment.
Examples of Negligence
Some examples of negligence might include:
- ●Not putting a “wet floor” sign out when the owner of a small store knew that people tracking rain in would make the floor slippery.
- ●Not warning invitees of a broken step.
- ●Driving in a reckless manner, including speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and following too closely.
Gross negligence examples include:
- ●Driving at an excessive speed through crowds of people.
- ●Knowing a step is broken, not repairing it, and not warning invitees of the broken step.
- ●Driving while distracted, for example, driving while texting.
Does Liability Insurance Cover Negligence?
Yes, if you can show that the defendant was negligent, their insurance policy should cover the defendant’s negligent actions or inactions. Auto, homeowner’s, business, and medical malpractice insurance policies are in place to cover accidents, including those caused by the negligence of another person or entity.
What if I Can’t Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?
In most personal injury cases, you do not need money to retain a lawyer. Your initial case evaluation is free and without obligation. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they do not get paid if you do not win your case.
How Do I Pay Medical Expenses Until I Receive My Settlement?
Depending on the type of accident that caused your injuries, you could use your auto or health insurance. If you suffered injuries because of a vehicle accident, you could use both insurances to cover your injuries.
When you recover a settlement, we use a portion of the money to pay any outstanding medical expenses and reimburse your insurance companies since they should not pay because of another’s actions. The balance of the settlement amount is yours to deposit and use as you please. If you sustained injuries that prevent you from working, hire a financial planner to set up your settlement to support you for a long time.