Most personal injury claims are negligence-based, which means the plaintiff (injured party) is trying to recover damages from the defendant (at-fault party) by proving the defendant did something negligent.
To win a personal injury claim, one must understand the four elements that make up a negligence-based personal injury claim, and how to prove negligence.
The attorneys at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley can help.
What Are the Elements of Negligence?
A strong personal injury claim must prove four different elements of tort negligence. The four elements of a negligence-based claim are:
- Duty of care. The first element of a negligence claim is proving the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. Sometimes, the duty of care must be established, such as the relationship between a landowner and a visitor to the landowner’s property (is the guest an invitee or a trespasser?); other times, the duty of care is implied. For example, all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly.
- Breach of duty of care. The second element of a negligence claim is proving the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, i.e. did something negligent. This might be failing to maintain a property in a reasonably safe condition, speeding or driving drunk, etc. Negligence refers to the failure to act with a proper degree of care, and therefore varies on a case-by-case basis. Essentially, when considering whether something is negligent, courts may compare it to what a reasonable person in the same situation would do.
- Causation. It is not enough to just prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove their injuries would not have been incurred but for the negligent act of the defendant, and therefore that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of the accident.
- Damages. Finally, the plaintiff must prove they have suffered actual damages as a result of the breach of duty of care and accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
One of the most complicated elements of a personal injury case is proving that the defendant’s actions were negligent.
To prove negligence, you will need to present a variety of different evidence types, including physical evidence (taking photos of the accident scene is strongly recommended), eyewitness testimony, experts’ opinions, event data recorder evidence, police reports, and more.
Comparative Negligence in Georgia
It’s important to remember that Georgia is a comparative negligence state, which means when you are suing for negligence, any fault of your own will be considered and can diminish the value of your claim.
While you will still be able to recover if you are found to be partially at fault (up to 50 percent) for your injuries, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault.
How Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help
Suing for negligence in Georgia can feel like an overwhelming task, especially when you are dealing with recovering from your injuries and accustoming yourself to the life change you have experienced.
When you hire our Georgia personal injury lawyers, we will be by your side to assist you along every step of the claim process, including proving the four elements of negligence and maximizing your settlement amount. Our lawyers will also answer any questions you may have, and serve as your advocate.
We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you will never be asked to pay for our services if we are not successful in recovering a settlement on your behalf.
Schedule Your Free Consultation today
To schedule a free consultation with our Georgia personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., please call today or send us a message.
We know how important your case is and will work hard to prove all of the elements of negligence in a personal injury claim and get you the settlement you deserve.