For every personal injury claim, four elements must be met. According to a personal injury lawyer, these four elements are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages, and they will be most applied to motor vehicle claims. If all these are indeed met, and the jury is convinced, you will likely be awarded just compensation for your injuries and damages.
Duty to Exercise Reasonable Care
All drivers owe a duty of care while on the road. The existence of this duty is the first element and step in your negligence claim. In the event of a car accident, you and your lawyer must determine that the at-fault driver owed you a duty. Typically, this is relatively simple to satisfy as long as you are in the vicinity of the negligent driver. A duty is owed to motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
However, the owed reasonable care depends on the accident’s circumstances. For example, imagine a windstorm blows someone’s trampoline into a roadway, leading to an auto accident. In that case, the court must determine whether the trampoline’s owners reasonably should have secured it before the windstorm.
Breach of Duty
The second element of a personal injury claim is showing that the at-fault party did not meet their duty of reasonable care. A driver may do something careless, such as failing to stop at a stop sign, texting and driving, or not properly maintaining their car. Even if the driver did not mean to injure someone, they would still be liable for not acting reasonably.
In some cases, breach of duty is more severe and can amount to recklessness, including flagrant speeding, drinking and driving, or racing.
After the duty and negligence to exercise reasonable care is determined, you must prove that the negligent party has caused your injuries and damages. Simply put, the driver’s negligence or reckless behavior must have contributed to your accident and losses.
You Have Suffered Injuries and Damages
You can recover compensation in a personal injury claim if the last three elements are met in addition to suffering actual damages. But what does it mean to suffer actual damages? To seek compensation, there must be actual injuries or damages suffered due to another’s negligence or reckless behavior. After all, the purpose of personal injury claims is to compensate you, but there is nothing to compensate you if no physical or emotional injuries or property damages exist. Suppose a driver was speeding and suddenly noticed the stop sign and stopped just in time before touching your vehicle. That means there were no damages, and you cannot bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the speeding driver.
The most common types of damages that come from personal injury claims include but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income and future earning capacity
- Vehicle damages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
If someone owed you a duty of care but, by engaging in negligent or wrongful conduct, has failed to fulfill that duty, they could be considered responsible for providing you with financial compensation for injuries and damages you suffered due to their negligence. To review the circumstances of your personal injury accident, consider getting legal representation and learn if you are entitled to compensation.