The term “negligence” in jurisprudence is the most commonly used theory of liability for those injured in any type of accident, including automobile accidents, aviation accidents, motorcycle accidents, and incidents of medical practice. Many people use the words “negligence” or “negligent” in everyday conversation to express or convey “carelessness.” In the courtroom, however, the term “negligence” has a very specific meaning. The law of negligence is founded on reasonable conduct or reasonable care under all circumstances of a particular case. There are four (4) basic elements to a negligence cause of action. Those elements are as follows:

1. Duty;
2. Breach of duty;
3. Proximate cause; and
4. Damages.

In order for a plaintiff to successfully assert that a defendant was negligent, a plaintiff will have to prove all four (4) elements. First, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care.” The legal term “duty of care” 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.

Second, a plaintiff must show that the defendant breached the “duty of care” he owed to the plaintiff. Again, using the automobile accident example, when a defendant drives unreasonably or unsafely, he breaches his obligation to reasonably and safely and drive.

Third, a plaintiff will have to show that the defendant’s breach of his duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injury. People engage in unreasonable behaviors all the time, however, not all of these people are actually “negligent.” For example, if a driver is talking on the phone while driving and gets in an accident, he can only be “negligent” or liable for the accident if his unsafe behavior actually caused the accident. But if the driver’s talking on the phone had nothing to do with the accident, then we cannot say that his behavior was legally “negligent.”
Finally, the plaintiff must show that he was damaged or injured in some way. Physical injury, financial injury, and sometimes mental injury will be sufficient. If a plaintiff is not injured in any way, he will not be successful in his “negligence” claim.

The Law Offices of Jorge L. Flores, P.A., has vast experience bringing negligence claims on behalf of clients injured in a variety of different situations. When you or a loved one is injured, you need a hardworking and aggressive attorney on your side who will work diligently in obtaining the maximum compensation available under the law