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Understanding the Legal Elements of Proving Someone is Negligent

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A common misconception associated with a personal injury case is that the party that caused an accident is automatically at fault for injuries, damages, and losses someone else sustains. In fact, holding someone responsible for injuries arising out of an accident is a more complicated proposition. 

An injured person needs to have a basic understanding of the elements necessary to prove in order to successfully pursue a claim for compensation following an accident. An injured individual really needs to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in order to understand what is involved in making a successful claim for compensation. Retaining the professional services of a personal injury attorney is an advisable course to ensure the protection of an injured individual’s legal rights and interests following an accident.

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Duty of Care

The first element in proving negligence is what is known as duty of care. Duty of care means that the person causing an accident owed the injured individual a duty of care. For example, a motorist in Ontario, or anywhere else in Canada, has a duty of care that requires a driver to operate a motor vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. 

A shop owner has a duty of care that requires floors to be kept in a reasonable safe condition for patrons of the business. The shop owner must take steps to keep floors free of spills that could cause a patron to slip and fall.

On the other hand, if a person breaks into a shop after hours and slips on liquid left on the floor, the shop owner likely will not be deemed to have a duty of care to the trespasser. The shop owner may have caused the accident and the injury. However, the merchant would not likely be responsible to the trespasser because he or she has no duty of care.

Breach of Duty of Care

When a duty of care is established, the next element is proving that duty was breached. Using a car accident as an example, a driver breaches a duty of care when he or she drives through a red light without stopping, colliding with another motorist that has the right-of-way.

Proximate Cause

The next element associated with negligence in a Canadian personal injury case is demonstrating that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injuries sustained in an accident. This requires the injuries sustained as the result of an accident to be reasonably foreseeable by the person who caused the incident. 

Actual Injuries

The final element associated with a successful negligence claim is demonstrating that a person sustained actual injuries, damages, or losses. Injuries, damages, or losses cannot be something speculative, something that might occur at a future point in time. 

Retain Legal Representation

A person injured in an accident should engage the services of a personal injury lawyer promptly. The first step in retaining counsel is scheduling an initial consultation. A personal injury lawyer from MGLaw at http://mginjurylawyers.com/ will schedule an initial consultation at no charge to a prospective client.