Injuries can occur in so many different ways, from serious car accidents to minor slip and fall accidents. Regardless of the specific situation that led to the injury, generally, legal liability turns on a concept known as negligence. Simply put, negligence means that one party failed to use reasonable care and that fact led to directly another party’s injuries. If you have been injured, it is important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who has a deep understanding of legal negligence.
Negligence has Four Required Elements
- Duty of care;
- Causation; and
The Duty of Care
The first step required in holding another party legally responsible for your injuries is proving that the other party actually had a legal obligation to keep you free from harm. For example, a grocery store has a legal obligation to make sure that their customers don’t encounter unmarked dangerously slippery floors. On the other hand, if someone is unlawfully trespassing inside the grocery store after hours, that specific duty of care no longer applies.
Breach: What’s Reasonable Anyway?
The next step in proving negligence is showing that the opposing party breached their duty of care. This is often the most contentious issue in personal injury cases. Proving a breach requires proving that you encountered a risk that was unreasonably dangerous and that the opposing party should have reasonably been able to prevent that risk from occurring. Imagine, again, that a customer was injured by an unmarked slippery floor, located in the produce section of a grocery store. Grocery store floors are very hard and have the potential to be very dangerous when slippery. It is unreasonably risky for a customer to encounter an unexpectedly slick floor. But, could the grocery store have reasonably prevented the risk from occurring? If the floor was slippery because of a spill that occurred 25 minutes ago, that presents a very different situation that if the floor was slippery because of a spill that occurred 25 seconds ago. Determining what is reasonable is the key and that generally becomes very fact and case specific. This is where an experienced personal injury attorney becomes an extremely valuable asset. Your attorney can review the case and acquire all of the necessary evidence to hold the parties that created the unreasonably dangerous risk accountable.
Causation and Damages
Once you’ve proven that a party had an obligation to keep you safe from harm and that the party failed in that obligation, you may feel like you are done. But, you are not quite finished. You also need to prove that the breach was a direct cause of your injuries and you need to prove that the breach actually caused real damage.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Negligent actors should be held responsible for the full extent of the damage they have caused. A qualified personal injury attorney is necessary to make that happen. If you have been injured by the negligent actions of another person or a business, you should contact an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney today. Do not hesitate and put your legal options at risk. Time is always of the essence is personal injury cases, and recovering full and fair compensation requires that you act quickly.