Understanding Negligence In California

When you are injured in an accident or incident caused by someone else, you have been a victim of negligence. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information out there about negligence and what it means in injury cases. If you have been hurt as a result of the negligence of someone else, reach out to a personal injury attorney who can help you seek compensation from the at-fault party. Call the Law Offices of Jake D. Finkel to discuss your injuries with an experienced personal injury today.

What is Negligence?

Getting hurt always has implications. Sometimes it is your own fault, and sometimes your injuries are caused by someone else. Not all injuries are caused by negligence, but if one is, then the victim has certain legal rights. Negligence is just a fancy legal way of saying that someone else was not doing what they should have, and that conduct resulted in injuries to another. In order for a victim to prove that another party was negligent in causing the accident that resulted in his or her injuries, the following four things must be shown:

  1. Duty. The person who hurt you must have owed you some sort of legal duty or obligation. This is actually simpler to prove than it sounds. It just means that the law imposes some responsibility. For instance, all drivers owe each other a duty to pay attention behind the wheel and not be distracted. Doctors owe a duty not to needlessly endanger their patients, and business owners owe their customers a duty to maintain a safe property.

  2. Breach. You next have to show that the person violated, or “breached” that duty in some way. A texting or intoxicated driver breaches his or her duty to others, much the same way that a careless business owner breaches his or her duty by not warning people of a spill on the floor.

  3. Causation. The victim must show that the breach of duty directly led to his or her injuries. It does not matter how badly someone messed up if that breach of duty does not result in harm to another. You must show that the other person involved violated his or her duty to you, and that the violation or error in some way was the direct reason for your injuries.

  4. Damages. Finally, it you can prove everything else, you still have to show that you were hurt in some way. This can be a physical loss or injury, and it can also be a property damage or loss. Sometimes the loss is purely financial.

What is the Difference Between Negligence and Gross Negligence?

Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise the type of ordinary caution that reasonable people would expect. So, again, a great example would be a texting driver who is not paying attention to the road. Gross negligence, on the other hand, goes a step further. This happens when there is a willful disregard for human life and safety. Getting drunk and operating a school bus may be an example of this. Likewise, companies can be grossly negligent if they know their product is dangerous but sell it anyway to save money. It is a tougher standard to prove, but it generally means the person did something dangerous, knowing it could likely lead to harm.

Negligence and Personal Injury

If you have been hurt by someone else, you should speak with an experienced injury lawyer right away to find out if the other party’s conduct qualifies as negligence. If so, you might have the right to collect money for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of Jake D. Finkel today to set up a free consultation with one of our lawyers now.