Accidents happen, and they often result in injury of various degrees. Now in cases when they happen, there are usually two or more parties involved, and in the case of these parties, those who are at fault and are the direct cause of the accident can usually be identified.
This is where 'Negligence' comes in, and it is a very helpful theory. Without this theory of "Negligence," there would be no way to legally say that one person is responsible for an accident which happened and owes the other party some compensation for damages. In other words, the theory of "Negligence" is what the process of establishing culpability of a person or of a company in an accident case, is based upon.
In general terms, to put it simply, in a situation where an accident and subsequent injury occurs to another person as a result of the careless actions of another party, the theory of "Negligence" makes it so that the erring party is responsible for whatever damages result from that careless action. Whether in an informal setting or in the law court in front of a jury, this basis of negligence is used in establishing liability in cases involving accidents and resulting injuries.
There are four elements which show that the defendant a.k.a. the person whose actions resulted in the accident acted in a manner that can be described as negligent, and they need to be proven for the case to hold any water. These elements are,
DUTY: This refers to the duty which the defendant (the person being accused of negligence) owed, legally, to the plaintiff a.k.a. the person who was injured as a result of negligence.
BREACH: When a defendant fails to act in the manner which supports that duty or goes ahead to act in a manner which does not fulfill that duty, then that defendant has breached the duty owed to the defendant.
CAUSATION: Actions or inactions by the defendant are what directly or indirectly resulted in the accident which caused the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
DAMAGES: These are the injuries or whatever harm was done to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s actions or inactions as the case may be.
Now that we have established what these elements are, we will now look at them in more detail.
This is the first step that is taken when determining whether or not a case can be established. It needs to be established, whether or not the person being accused of negligence which resulted in an accident, actually owed the plaintiff who suffered from the accident, a legal duty of care in the first place. This can be established in various ways. For example, the relationship between both the defendant and the plaintiff can come with a legal duty of care. In a relationship involving a doctor and his or her patient, the doctor owes a duty of care to that patient. The doctor is required to provide good and adequate medical assistance.
The same thing applies to the road. On the road, the various drivers owe other drivers a duty of care which requires them to drive in a manner that will not put anyone in harm’s way.
BREACH OF AFOREMENTIONED DUTY
After establishing that, in the first place, there was a duty of care owed in the relationship, then the next step is to determine whether or not, that duty of care was breached. This breach involves doing or not doing things that a ‘reasonably prudent person’, in a similar situation, would or would not do.
There is an established standard by law which is referred to by the term ‘reasonably prudent person’ and refers to how responsible action would be taken by the average person, in everyday situations. Going by this, if it is found that, in a similar situation, an average person would have realized that their actions would result in the injury of another and therefore acted in a different manner, then the defendant will be found guilty of negligence and breach of the duty of care owed.
After duty and breach of duty have been established, the next thing to do would be to prove that the plaintiff was, in fact, injured due to the defendant’s breach of legal duty. Granted, the defendant may have acted in a careless and negligent manner, but it may not necessarily have caused the plaintiff’s injuries and it is the plaintiff’s job to prove that it did. What this means that, just because a driver was making a call while driving, it does not mean that driver was responsible for an accident that occurred a block away.
Under this, another thing that is examined is whether or not, under the circumstances, the defendant could have been expected to know that his or her actions would cause an accident. This is to make sure that the negligence wasn’t due to circumstances out of the defendant’s control and events that one could not have foreseen.
This is the final element that needs to be evaluated and established. This element calls for compensation of the injuries that were inflicted upon the plaintiff by the defendant due to their negligence of the legal duty of care. The compensation is usually monetary and covers things such as medical costs, repair of damaged property, emotional distress and so on. Contact a fort worth truck accident lawyer today for top quality and professional services.