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Golden State Law Group Golden State Law Group

Golden State Law Group Golden State Law Group

Golden State Law Group Golden State Law Group


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San Diego Injury Attorneys

What are the Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case?

When someone in San Diego is injured by someone else because of a mistake or generally irresponsible conduct, the process of holding that person or those people accountable involves more than simply demanding monetary compensation.  Anyone who has been harmed in this manner needs to seek the help of experienced San Diego injury attorneys.  Below is one reason why this is an advisable step - there are four elements of negligence that must be proven successfully in court in order for an injured person to recover damages.

What is a Legal Duty of Care?

The first element of negligence that must be proven is the presence of a legal duty of care.  A duty of care is basically a responsibility that California law places on people that requires them to not place others in situations of unreasonable risk of harm.  However, this duty does not extend to every person in the state at all times - a plaintiff must have been a foreseeable beneficiary of this duty of care in order to continue proving a case.

What is Breach of Duty?

Secondly, an injured plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached this duty of care.  This is generally done by comparing the conduct of the defendant with what a reasonable person would have done in a similar situation.  If a reasonable person would have acted differently, it's likely that the court will find that the defendant breached this legal duty.

What is Causation?

After the first two elements of negligence have been met, the plaintiff must then prove one of the most difficult concepts in personal injury law.  This concept is known as causation.  Simply put, the plaintiff must prove that the breach of the legal duty by the defendant caused, either directly or indirectly, the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.  This notion has been the subject of several legal theories and tests over the years, as exceptions do exist.

What are Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

Finally, if all three of the previous elements have been proven, the plaintiff must also show that he or she has suffered actual damages as a result of the situation.  These damages can be the result of direct costs, such as medical bills and lost income or they can be indirect costs such as the pain and suffering endured by the plaintiff as a result of the injuries suffered.

Overall, holding a defendant liable for injuries he or she caused is not a simple or easy matter.  However, it's done regularly by San Diego personal injury lawyers who have the experience necessary to do so.  If you or someone you love has been harmed by someone else, contact the Golden State Trial Group today to schedule a free initial consultation.


Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Case page information updated June 30, 2014