What Is Negligence in Personal Injury Cases?

August 1, 2022

Negligence is a legal concept that is required in personal injury cases. Because negligence is the backbone of personal injury cases, you must understand what negligence is, how it applies, and how it is proven. Those are the concepts you’ll learn about in this blog.

If you have questions about negligence in a personal injury case or if you think you have a personal injury case after reading this blog, contact us to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation. We’re here to help.

When Does the Concept of Negligence Apply?

Negligence is a legal concept that exists in each jurisdiction. To create it, several conditions must be met.

  • There is a legal duty of care. For example, all drivers have a legal duty of care to stop at red lights and pay full attention to the road. So, we shouldn’t text and drive, and we certainly shouldn’t run red lights.
  • There is a breach of the legal duty of care. Following our example, someone ran a red light while driving 45 MPH. They hit a vehicle that had the right of way. The driver who ran the red light was reading a text on their phone.
  • There is causation. In Minnesota, causation is established where the Defendant’s breach of the legal duty was a substantial factor in bringing about the victim’s harm.  In our “red-light” example,  the driver reading the text and running the red light, was a substantial factor in causing our victim’s injuries.  Thus causation would be established.
  • There must be harm of some kind. Harm is a straight forward concept.  Any harm caused by the driver’s breach is harm that is compensable in a personal injury claim.

There is more than one type of negligence. There’s ordinary negligence, greater than ordinary negligence, gross negligence and criminal negligence.  With ordinary negligence, is simply the failure to use that level of care which would have been used by a reasonably prudent person under the same or similar conditions.

How Is Negligence Proven in Personal Injury Cases?

Understanding how negligence is proven is essential because it impacts how much a victim may receive as compensation. Practically every jurisdiction has a law that looks at what contribution, if any, the victim had in the accident.

Most of these laws state that if the victim had 51% or more liability for causing or contributing to the accident, they will not be compensated. However, if the victim did not contribute to the accident or contributed less than 51%, they will typically be eligible for compensation. Their compensation would depend on their injuries and the percentage of negligence assigned to them.

Get Help with Your Personal Injury Case

Do you believe that you have a personal injury claim? We provide free, confidential personal injury and negligence case evaluations. We want to help make sure that any valuable legal rights you may have are protected. Contact us today.