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Clarissa Fernandez Pratt
Clarissa Fernandez Pratt

What does my lawyer need to prove in a car accident case?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

In personal injury law, there are typically four elements that need to be established to prove a valid personal injury claim. These elements may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but the following are commonly recognized:

Duty of Care: The first element is showing the negligent party owed a duty of care to the injured. Duty of care refers to the legal obligation to act in a reasonable and prudent manner to avoid causing harm to others. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and follow traffic laws.

Breach of Duty: The second element involves showing the defendant breached their duty of care. This means that the defendant failed to act reasonably or prudently, thereby deviating from the required standard of care. It must be proven that the defendant’s actions or inactions fell below the acceptable level of care.

Causation: The third element is establishing a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. There are two types of causation to establish:

  1. Actual Cause: It must be shown that the defendant’s actions or negligence were the actual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, “but for” the defendant’s actions, the injury would not have occurred.
  2. Proximate Cause: Proximate cause, also known as legal cause, requires demonstrating that the harm suffered by the plaintiff was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s breach of duty. The injury should not be too remote or indirect to establish proximate cause.

Damages: The final element is proving that the plaintiff suffered physically or mentally as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty. Damages may include bodily injuries, emotional suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses. It is essential to have evidence related to the extent and nature of the damages suffered.

To succeed in a personal injury claim, all four elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not (51% or greater) that the defendant is liable for the injuries and damages. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you navigate these elements and build a strong case to seek compensation for your injuries.