What Is the Definition of Negligence?

By Quirk Law Firm, LLPJanuary 12, 2022Uncategorized

Slip and Fall Lawyer Ventura, CA

What Is the Definition of Negligence?

The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).”

Most personal injury lawsuits are grounded in negligence, meaning that you’re not accusing the defendant(s) of deliberately or maliciously injuring you. Rather, you’re claiming that he, she or they acted recklessly or in disregard of your safety and welfare, resulting in your injury.

A slip and fall lawyer at Quirk Law Firm, LLP can help you understand the law of negligence and how negligence principles apply to your case.   

What are the Elements of Proof for Negligence?

To win your personal injury lawsuit based on negligence, you and your lawyer will need to present sufficient evidence in court to prove the following:

  • That the defendant owed you a duty of care
  • That he, she or it breached that duty
  • That you sustained injury as a result of this breach
  • That the breach was the main cause, called proximate cause, of your injury
  • That your injuries resulted in economic and noneconomic damages which the defendant is legally obligated to pay

What is a Duty of Care?

The precise duty of care the defendant owed you will depend on the type of injury you sustained and the person or entity who owed it to you. For instance, the duty of care your physician owes you is considerably different than the duty of care that all other drivers owe you when they get behind the wheels of their respective vehicles or the duty of care a product manufacturer owes you to produce a safe product.

In a medical malpractice lawsuit with multiple defendants, the duty of care owed by each of them may also be different. For instance, your doctor’s duty of care differs substantially from that of your nurse, your physical therapist, your pharmacist, and the hospital or other facility in which your injury occurred.

Who Qualifies as an Expert Witness?

One of the main reasons why you need an experienced local personal injury lawyer to represent you is that he or she may well need to obtain the services of expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. An expert witness is someone recognized as an authority in his or her field. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, each of your expert witnesses usually must match one of the defendants in terms of education, background, practice area and other important aspects. In other words, if you’re suing your surgeon, your expert witness needs to also be a surgeon practicing the same type of surgery.