PERSONAL INJURY 101: THE ELEMENTS OF NEGLIGENCE
When pursuing a personal injury claim, you will typically be required to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. Negligence is a concept that is fairly easy to understand – it is essentially a failure to take proper care or caution. Proving negligence in court, however, is far more complicated.
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1. THE DEFENDANT OWED YOU A DUTY
In order to prove that someone failed to take proper care, you must first establish what proper care means in your case. A car accident is a great example – in Oklahoma, a driver’s duty to stop at red lights is defined in the Oklahoma State Vehicle Code.
In some cases, such as the car accident example, proving this can be fairly simple. In other cases, especially medical malpractice, your Tulsa injury attorney may need to rely on medical experts and similar resources to establish the “medical standard of care.”
2. THE DEFENDANT BREACHED THEIR DUTY
Once you have established that the defendant owed you a duty, you must then prove that they failed to live up to this duty. In our car accident example, you could prove that they breached their duty if you can prove that they ran a red light. Your attorney may need to rely on police reports, accident reconstruction specialists, and other pieces of evidence to prove this.
3. THE BREACH CAUSED YOUR INJURIES
At this point, you have already established that the defendant owed you a duty, and violated this duty. The next step is proving that your injuries were the result of the breach. Again, medical experts will often be called upon to confirm that your injuries were caused by the accident, and the date and time of medical treatment can also play a big role.
4. YOU SUFFERED LOSSES DUE TO THE BREACH
Once you have reached step four, you have already essentially proven that negligence occurred and caused your injuries. What remains is to prove the value of the damages you’ve suffered, and will endure in the future as a result of the accident.
Some damages which are relatively simple to assign value to include medical expenses and damage to your car. Others, like the cost of future medical care, rehabilitation, and your pain and suffering, will be much more challenging to assign a dollar figure to.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve – call our firm at 918-492-7674 to pursue full compensation.