Can You Sue For Negligence?

Quick Summary:

When someone’s negligent or irresponsible behavior results in your harm or loss, you have the right to file a negligence lawsuit. Negligence can take many different forms, from a distracted driver who causes an accident while texting behind the wheel to a business that recklessly discharges hazardous substances into the environment. It’s crucial to comprehend what defines carelessness as well as the requirements for a successful claim in order to decide whether you may file a lawsuit for negligence in the circumstances of your individual case.

To learn more about negligence and how to proceed with a case if you believe you have one, keep reading!

What is negligence?

The standard definition of negligence is the failure to employ the degree of care that a reasonable person would in the same situation. In other words, if someone behaves carelessly, their conduct may be viewed as negligent, and they may be held accountable for any harm they produce.

In a case involving a personal injury, negligence is often established by looking at the defendant’s (the person being sued) acts and contrasting them with what a reasonable person in the same position would have done. The defendant may be held accountable for any injuries or losses if their conduct falls short of the level of care that society would have expected.

A negligence case’s components

The following four conditions must be satisfied before a negligence claim can be made:

  • Duty: The defendant has a legal need to take reasonable care to protect the plaintiff (the person suing). For instance, it is everyone’s responsibility under the law to drive safely and responsibly.
  • Duty breach: The defendant must have disregarded this obligation. In other words, they must have failed to act with the degree of care that would have been reasonable for them to have in the same situation.
  • Causation: The plaintiff’s injuries or damages must have been brought about by the defendant’s duty violation. This means that there must be a clear causal link establishing causation between the defendant’s activities and the plaintiff’s damages.
  • Damages: The defendant’s acts must have caused the plaintiff some sort of harm. This might involve monetary losses, physical harm, or property damage.

Examples of carelessness

There are innumerable circumstances in which someone might file a negligence lawsuit, but some typical ones include:

  • Automobile accidents: If a motorist acts negligently and causes an accident that injures someone else, that person may be able to sue for damages.
  • Accidents involving slipping and falling: If a property owner fails to keep their property in a safe state, which causes someone to slip and fall, the injured person may be able to sue for negligence.
  • Medical malpractice: A patient may be able to file a lawsuit for negligence if a healthcare provider fails to uphold the necessary level of care, harming the patient as a result.

Demonstrating negligence

The plaintiff must provide proof that each of the four elements of a negligence case are present in order to establish negligence in court. Obtaining medical records, witness statements, and other types of evidence may be necessary in this.

It can also be required in some circumstances to retain expert witnesses to testify for the plaintiff. These specialists can offer specialized knowledge and skills about the particulars of the case, assisting in proving the defendant’s wrongdoing.

Damages in a case of negligence

The plaintiff may be granted damages to make up for the injury they endured if they are successful in demonstrating carelessness. Indemnification for medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and other types of economic and non-economic loss may be included.

Punitive damages, which are meant to penalize the defendant for their carelessness and discourage others from engaging in similar activity, may also be granted by the court in certain circumstances. Punitive damages, however, are usually only granted where the defendant’s actions were especially flagrant or careless.

Negligence defenses

If the defendant wants to avoid being held accountable for negligence, they may use several defenses. Common countermeasures include:

  • Risk assumption: According to this argument, the plaintiff accepted the risk of harm by choosing to partake in a risky activity. If a person is hurt while skydiving, for instance, the skydiving firm can claim that the person accepted the risk of harm by deciding to engage in the sport.
  • Contributory negligence: This argument argues that the injured party was somewhat to blame for the accident and their injuries. For instance, the other motorist can claim that the person’s own carelessness caused the accident if they were involved in a car accident while texting.
  • Comparative negligence: Depending on the plaintiff’s degree of fault in the accident, the defense of comparative negligence may be employed in some states to minimize the defendant’s liability. For instance, if the plaintiff contributed to the accident in some way, their damages might be lessened in proportion to their level of fault.

When to seek legal advice

If you are thinking of suing for negligence, it is frequently beneficial to speak with an attorney. An expert attorney can provide guidance on the best course of action moving ahead and assist in determining whether negligence has occurred. Additionally, having legal counsel might increase your chances of winning your case in court and getting just recompense for any damages you may have suffered. For these reasons, it is typically preferable to speak with a lawyer if you suspect negligence on the part of another person.