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What You Should Know about Negligence


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Jun 01, 2017 in Personal Liability

law booksIf you suffered a personal injury that was caused by another person's careless or intentional actions, this individual could be held liable for your injury under the theory of negligence.  

The theory of negligence has four elements that you and your South Bend personal injury attorney must establish to pursue a legal claim against the party that caused your injury: 

Duty of Care

This is a legal obligation to exercise the same level of reasonable care that another person would exercise in a similar situation.

For instance, doctors have a legal duty to provide their patients with the same level of care that a similarly trained medical professional would provide if he or she were in a similar situation.

Drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and in accordance with all traffic laws.   

In some cases, your attorney will need to consult experts to determine the specific duty of care for the situation where your injury occurred.  

Breach of Duty of Care

You must also prove that the defendant breached his or her duty of care by failing to act the way that a reasonably prudent person would if he or she were in the same situation.

In other words, you must prove that an average person possessing the same knowledge as the defendant would have behaved differently because he or she would have known that his or her actions or lack of action would cause injury to the plaintiff.

Causation

This means there must be a direct link between the breach of duty of care and your injuries. You must also show that there was a reasonable expectation for the defendant to foresee that his or her actions might cause an injury to the plaintiff.

This means that, regardless of the defendant's actions, he or she will likely not be held liable for an injury that was random or unforeseeable.

Damages

To receive compensation for your negligence claim, you must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused damages, such as medical bills for the treatment of your injury, bills to repair property damaged in the accident and other monetary expenses.

Comparative Negligence

While you are attempting to prove that your injury was caused by the defendant's negligence, his or her attorneys will be attempting to prove that your injuries were caused by your own negligence.

If they prove that you bear the majority of the responsibility for the injury because of your own negligence, you will be unable to recover compensation and may be held liable for the defendant’s legal costs.

This is because claims asserting the theory of negligence are governed by Indiana's modified comparative fault system, which prohibits plaintiffs from recovering compensation if they bear 51 percent or more of the responsibility for their injuries.

If you are less than 51 percent at fault, your compensation award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In other words, if you are awarded $100,000 for an injury but are 25 percent at fault, your award will be reduced to $75,000.

Before this system was introduced, plaintiffs could not recover any compensation if they were partially at fault for their injury, no matter how small their percentage of fault.

Contact Us About Filing a Personal Injury Claim

If you suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence, schedule a free legal consultation with the attorneys of Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak to discuss your legal options. We can answer all of your questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit in Indiana.

If you have a case, we are prepared to conduct a thorough investigation and guide you through the legal process. We can help you recover all of the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form.