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4 Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent or reckless party, you may be eligible to bring forth a personal injury case for monetary damages. However, to file a successful lawsuit, you must establish four distinct elements about the case.

Keep in mind, the ability to show the following elements does not necessarily mean that one will succeed in a civil lawsuit. Instead, these are the requirements that need to be met to initially file the claim.

The following are the four elements you must prove to file a personal injury claim:

  • Duty to exercise reasonable care – The first element you must satisfy is the existence of someone’s legal duty owes to another party in order to protect safety and well-being. What constitutes reasonable care depends on the situation. If your case involves a car accident, for example, this applies to the duty of care a driver has to all others on the road to operate their vehicle in a safe and responsible manner and avoid collisions.
  • Breach of the duty of care – The second element is showing a breach in exercising reasonable care. You need to prove that the defendant failed to act or behave with the level of care that a reasonable individual in the same circumstances would have exercised, or violated a law.
  • Causation – The third element is proving causation or that the defendant’s actions caused the accident and your injury. In other words, you need to establish that the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care caused, or at least contributed, to the injury.
  • Damages – The fourth and final element is proving damages, or losses, in order to recover compensation for the injury you suffered. Financial compensation can come in the form of economic (e.g. medical expenses and lost wages) and noneconomic (e.g. pain and suffering) damages.

If you are interested in filing a personal injury claim, an experienced lawyer can help determine if you have met all of the necessary elements for a negligence case and the types of compensation recoverable.

For more information, request a free consultation with our San Jose personal injury lawyer at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP today.