Elements of Negligence
Personal injury law covers a broad spectrum of actions and behavior whereby, in the vast majority of cases, you have been injured through the negligence of another. It is common to speak of the resolution of such matters as dependent on which party was at fault and how much the case is worth. Although these are important considerations, to prevail in a personal injury claim and recover for the injuries you have sustained, a Jacksonville injury attorney must prove the negligence of the defendant by a showing of the presence of four key elements.
It must be shown that the defendant owed you (the injured plaintiff) some sort of duty. Absent a special duty that may be owed by the nature of the relationship between two parties, there is a general duty of care that each individual owes to another to avoid placing him or her in danger of harm. In some cases, the duty is clear; as an example, the Florida Vehicle Code cites specific rules and regulations for driving. In many other instances, there are not such defined standards, and a Jacksonville injury lawyer can explain that the duty of care is to act reasonably under the circumstances.
Breach of Duty
Once a duty has been established, it must be proved the defendant breached that duty in some manner. It may seem apparent that running a red light, for instance, is a breach of the duty of care to drive in a safe manner. But what if the duty of care is to act as a reasonable person would? That can be subject to different interpretation. Consider a situation in which a tenant falls in a poorly lit hallway. The landlord does have a duty to maintain the property in a safe manner, but what is reasonable in terms of inspecting the hallway and replacing burned out light bulbs?
There must be a direct link between the breach of duty and your injury. As an example, one driver may have run the red light, but what if the other driver was making an illegal turn at the same time? Additionally, perhaps the light bulb may have been out in the hallway, but what if the tenant was careless and running?
The plaintiff must have suffered a measurable loss that is definite and calculable. It may include physical, emotional, property, and other types of damages.
Contact a Jacksonville Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
Personal injury cases require experienced and knowledgeable counsel. For an understanding of your rights, call First Coast Accident Lawyers at (904) 215-5555.