There are several types of personal injury cases. Some of the more popular personal injury cases are auto accidents and slip-and-falls. Both of these examples are exactly what they appear to be; and both are rooted in negligence.
At its core, “negligence” consists of four different elements:
- Duty. It must first be established that there is a duty owed. With an auto accident, for example, every driver (among other things) has a duty to maintain his or her vehicle and to obey the rules of the road (i.e. speed limits, traffic devices, etc.);
- Breach of Duty. This occurs when somebody fails to uphold his/her duty to another. Continuing with the auto accident example, a person breaches his duty when he fails to reduce speed to avoid an accident;
- Causation. This is a fancy way of saying that a person’s breach is what caused the accident. In other words (continuing with the auto accident example in the preceding paragraph), it must have been the person’s failure to reduce speed that resulted in the accident;
- Damages. This means that there must be some form of damage to the victim. It is not enough to show that somebody owed a duty, breached the duty and caused the accident – there must be damages. For example (once again focusing on the auto accident example in the preceding paragraphs), it is not enough to show that somebody caused the accident for failing to uphold their duty to another, there must be some damage to the other person, i.e. damage to their vehicle and/or injuries.