The legal term "negligence" is the most common theory of recovery for those injured in any type of accident, including car accidents, aviation accidents, motorcycle accidents, and incidents of medical malpractice. Many people use the words "negligence" or "negligent" in everyday conversation to convey a sense of carelessness. In the courtroom, however, the term "negligence" has a very specific meaning.
There are four basic elements to a negligence cause of action. In order for a plaintiff to successfully assert that a defendant was negligent, a plaintiff will have to prove all four elements. First, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a "duty of care." The legal term "duty of care" basically means that one party was obligated to act in a certain way toward another. For example, in automobile accident cases, all drivers owe a duty to drive reasonably and safely to other drivers and passengers on the road.
Next, a plaintiff must show that the defendant breached the "duty of care" he owed to the plaintiff. Again, using the car accident example, when a defendant drives unreasonably or unsafely, he breaches his obligation to safely and reasonably drive.
Third, a plaintiff will have to show that the defendant's breach of his duty of care caused the plaintiff's injury. Plenty of people engage in unsafe and unreasonable behaviors everyday, but not all of these people are actually "negligent." For example, if a driver is eating while driving and then gets in an accident, he can only be "negligent" and legally responsible for the accident if his unsafe behavior actually caused the accident. If the driver's eating had nothing to do with the accident, then we cannot say that his behavior was legally "negligent."
Last, the plaintiff needs to show that he was damaged or injured in some way. Physical injury, financial injury, and sometimes mental injury will be sufficient. The old saying "no harm, no foul" definitely applies to negligence. If a plaintiff is not injured in any way whatsoever, he cannot bring a successful negligence claim.
The attorneys at Anidjar & Levine have vast experience bringing negligence claims on behalf of clients injured in a variety of different situations. When you are injured, you need a responsible and hardworking attorney to help guide you through a potential negligence cause of action and all of the legal remedies available to you.
If you were injured in an accident due to another person's negligent behavior, call the Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine for a free consultation. Our lawyers can speak with you about whether you might be entitled to compensation for your injury. You can reach our Florida offices at (800) 747-3733 or submit an on-line form to contact us today.