In the majority of San Antonio personal injury cases, there is someone who is at fault, responsible for causing the injuries to someone else. The legal term used in this scenario is “negligence.” In order to prove the negligence of another individual is the reason you’ve been hurt, you will need to demonstrate four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. While a couple of these terms may sound difficult to understand, they aren’t as complicated as you might think.
While negotiating your claim with the other party and their insurance company, these legal concepts more than likely won’t be discussed when determining compensation. Matter of fact, you may not need to discuss who was at fault at all. The only question may be how much you’re entitled to in order to compensate for your injuries. However, if your case isn’t quite that simple, you may want a better understanding of these terms.
Duty of Care
A duty of care is a person’s obligation to avoid causing injury of any kind to another individual or putting someone else in danger with careless actions. The majority of the time, each person has at the least a minimal duty of care towards other people.
Determining this duty can be difficult because there aren’t exactly specific laws in regards to the subject. For instance, a department store has a level of duty of care towards the safety of their customers. That being said, there are no specific guidelines on specifically what it is the department store must do. They are only required to take reasonable steps towards ensuring their customer’s safety.
Breach of Duty
Once you have been able to establish there was a duty of care involved in the accident, it will need to be determined whether or not the other party lived up to their end of the duty. In a case where they haven’t, the actions of the other person or company are considered negligent. The other party has breached their duty of care by either allowing or creating a dangerous or unsafe situation for others. In many instances, there won’t be too much difficulty determining if the duty of an individual has been breached.
Once you have been able to determine that a person has breached a duty towards you, you have established their legal responsibilities for your injury. This can be accomplished by proving a traffic law was broken or there were unsafe circumstances such as a loose handrail on a stairway or a wet floor that should have been cleaned. However, even if it has been determined that another person was negligent, you still have to prove their negligence was the cause of your accident. For instance, if a driver begins to make a turn without using a proper signal, leading to an accident, they may be able to say that you had a stop sign and did not bring your vehicle to a complete stop. Therefore, your car shouldn’t have been in the middle of the intersection, to begin with.
In this instance, the term “damages” refers to the amount of money you are seeking to compensate for your injuries and any other damage that has been suffered due to the accident. You will need to show that the amount you are asking to receive is reasonable to cover the losses you have suffered. For instance, if you were to trip in a grocery store and the total sum of medical expenses and lost wages equals $15,000, you may have a difficult time explaining why you are asking for $50,000.
You need to be able to justify that the amount you are seeking is equivalent to the losses you have experienced due to the negligence of the person responsible for the accident.