Negligence is a legal theory many personal injury victims use to receive compensation for their injuries and hold at-fault parties accountable. For example, a car accident victim might be able to receive compensation from the driver who struck them by showing the driver hit them because they failed to stop at a red light.
If you were harmed because of someone else’s actions, you might have questions about how to prove negligence. In this post, Hartley Law Firm provides a general guide on legally proving negligence and the evidence you can use to support your claim.
Hartley Law Firm tirelessly advocates for injured parties throughout Texas, helping them fight for the compensation they deserve and holding irresponsible parties accountable for their actions.
Understanding How to Prove Negligence
When you sue someone based on legal negligence law, you need to prove all four elements of negligence, which are:
- Duty of care,
- Breach of duty of care,
- Causation, and
You must prove each of these to successfully bring a claim against the at-fault party. In some cases, you may have to establish additional elements or conditions to succeed.
Duty of Care
First, you must show the at-fault party owed you a duty of care to act how a reasonably prudent person would act under the circumstances. We all owe a general duty to everyone around us to act like reasonable and prudent people. For example, drivers must follow posted traffic signs and laws, and shopkeepers must attend to spills.
People sometimes owe an enhanced duty to others because of a special relationship between them. For example, doctors owe an additional obligation to their patients to follow generally accepted standards of medical care when examining, treating, and diagnosing patients.
Breach of Duty of Care
Next, you need to show the at-fault party failed to meet their duty of care. Put another way, you must show that their conduct fell below the standard of care expected of them in that scenario. For example, you can meet this burden by proving the at-fault driver was speeding and texting when the accident happened. A breach can occur because someone did something or because they failed to do something.
You can also present testimony or other evidence to show that the party should have acted differently. For example, you can have a medical expert testify that your doctor should have ordered additional scans or prescribed a different medication.
When suing someone who injured you, you also need to prove their breach of duty caused your injury. Generally, this means you’ll need to show the accident most likely wouldn’t have happened if the at-fault party had acted reasonably and satisfied their duty of care.
Proving causation is vital to meet your burden of proof. A personal injury lawyer can help you develop your case and gather the evidence you need to prove the at-fault party’s conduct caused your injury.
Finally, you need to prove that you suffered an actual injury or damages because of the breach. You can establish this by presenting hospital bills, repair receipts, and other evidence to show the expenses and losses you incurred because of the accident.
What Types of Evidence Can You Use to Support Your Negligence Claim?
Now that you understand the elements to address when proving negligence, let’s review some evidence you can use to build a strong case against the at-fault party. Presenting evidence to prove each element of your claim is a crucial part of how to prove legal negligence.
In most cases, your burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence standard. Under this standard, injured parties must show it’s “more likely than not” the at-fault party caused their injuries. To accomplish this, you must have sufficient evidence to prove each of the four elements.
Evidence that might be beneficial for you to use to prove your case includes things like:
- Physical evidence, such as a torn bumper or a broken arm;
- Documentary evidence, such as video recordings, photographs, written answers to questions, and medical records; and
- Witness testimony, such as depositions or in-court testimony of those who witnessed the accident or treated your injuries.
Hartley Law Firm: Dedicated Texas Negligence Lawyers
We understand that suffering from a personal injury can have devastating physical, emotional, and financial impacts on your life. At Hartley Law Firm, we dedicate ourselves to helping injured people and their families recover the compensation they need to move forward. Austin Hartley is an award-winning attorney who leverages his significant trial experience to aggressively fight for his clients and protect their rights. If you or your loved one were injured by someone else’s negligence, contact our office by phone or online today for a free initial case evaluation.