Negligence actions are claims filed after an injury has occurred when a plaintiff seeks to recover damages caused by someone else’s fault. They are filed against a defendant who causes harm while under a duty to act in a reasonable, non-injurious manner. When a person fails to act with a reasonable degree of care, sometimes this negligence causes injury. If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, proving your case can seem like an insurmountable challenge while recovering from your injuries.
To this point in our series on understanding negligence actions, we have covered a brief overview of these claims and have examined duty, the first component of a negligence action. This post will focus on another core element of a negligence action: breach of duty (or negligence). After it has been determined that there exists a duty to the plaintiff from the defendant, the next necessary step is showing that the defendant’s actions constituted a breach of duty, or failed to live up to the accepted standard of care.
when can i take civil action for a breach of duty?
In personal injury cases, a duty usually consists of the duty to not harm another individual due to less-than-careful actions. If a person becomes injured due to proven negligent behavior, the defendant in this case has committed a breach of duty and can be liable for damages.
In our stop sign example from the two previous posts, the duty belonged to the negligent driver (the defendant) and this duty protects the second driver (the plaintiff). The specific breach of duty in this case would be the defendant’s action of running the stop sign, as this action directly caused the ensuing injury to the plaintiff. Because it was the defendant’s duty to operate his or her vehicle in a manner that prevented other drivers on the road from being harmed, the injury that resulted from the act of negligence indicates a breach of duty.
Determining the duty assured to the plaintiff in a case is paramount to knowing when to file a claim, but in order to move forward with seeking damages for an injury, the plaintiff must show that the duty in question was violated, indicating that an injury followed the negligent act. This violation will serve as the breach of duty for the case.
important questions your charlottesville personal injury lawyer will answer
Did a duty exist in the case’s circumstances? Did the defendant fail to use a standard of care that a reasonable person in a similar situation would have used? Could the potential for injury following the breach of duty been foreseen and prevented by the defendant? Were there less dangerous, alternative actions than not committing the dangerous act? These are all questions that need to be answered while building a negligence claim. Personal Injury Lawyers can help you put the pieces together.
At MartinWren, P.C. our experienced legal team of Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers is dedicated to serving injured parties and their families in Charlottesville, Virginia. Residents in the Central Virginia and Northern Virginia area can contact our offices to set up a free consultation and evaluation of your personal injury case. Let us give you quality legal representation while you seek the damages you are owed.
For more information, please contact Robert E. Byrne, Jr. at (434) 817-3100.