Understanding negligence: who’s at fault for injuries?

People legally must conduct themselves in certain ways in order to avoid causing harm to others. For example, when someone is driving, they have an implicit duty to drive in a way that doesn’t endanger others, such as not disobeying traffic signs.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury, it may be possible to prove someone else was at fault due to negligence. Negligence can take many forms, but here are some important things to know about how it works and what to do if you suffer an injury because of it.

How do I know if negligence was involved in an injury?

When trying to prove negligence, there are five factors that must be shown to be true.

1. The accused had a duty to the injured person. This will depend on factors like location and whether the injured person was allowed to be there in the first place.

2. If the accused had a duty, they violated it.

3. The accused’s actions must have been the cause of the injured person’s harm.

4. The accused’s actions must have foreseeable consequences. If the injury could not reasonably have been foreseen on account of the action, they will probably not be considered at fault.

5. Actual damage or harm must be done.

The compensation awarded due to negligence also depends on the negligence of the injured person. If the injured person acted in a way that they should reasonably know raises their risk of injury, the compensation may be less than they would otherwise receive for their injury.

Examples of negligent behavior

There are many forms that negligence can take. This is just a handful of situations that could be considered negligence if someone is injured when these conditions are present:

• A doctor administers too much of a dangerous medication

• A restaurant or store doesn’t use “Wet Floor” signs after mopping

• A driver is texting while driving

• A driver runs a red light or drives through a “Stop” sign without stopping

• A landlord doesn’t fix torn carpet, loose railing, unstable stairs, etc.

• A person leaves a young child or someone who cannot take care of themselves alone at home

What do I do if I suspect negligence caused me or my loved one harm?

Whether you think an injury could be due to negligence or you’re very confident that negligence was the cause, talking to an attorney about personal injuries is very important. Consultations are free, and attorneys can help you through the process of proving fault and building a case around your personal circumstances.