The Elements of Negligence

Most personal injury claims are built around the legal concept of negligence. The other option is an intentional tort, which is when the plaintiff accuses the defendant of intentionally hurting her or placing her in danger. In a negligence claim, the defendant’s motives are usually not directly relevant. The plaintiff only has to show that the defendant behaved in an unacceptable way that caused the injury.

It may sound simple, but personal injury claims are not easy to file successfully. There are four basic components that you must demonstrate in court, ideally with the assistance of a Des Moines personal injury lawyer. Filing a claim without legal assistance is allowed, but much less likely to be successful.

What You Need to Prove

A personal injury claim can help you win compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and punitive damages. However, before you can receive any compensation for these losses, you need to be able to convince a judge or jury that:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to you. Depending on your relationship with the defendant, you are owed varying levels of consideration. For example, we all have a duty to not harm those around us; teachers have a responsibility to protect their students; doctors have a responsibility to treat their patients according to current professional standards.
  • The defendant failed to meet that duty. In most cases, the defendant’s reasons for this failure do not matter. What matters is that they committed an error or reckless act that hurt you.
  • This failure directly caused your injuries. Many accidents have multiple contributing factors, and that is fine. However, you need to be able to demonstrate that your injuries would not have occurred if it were not for the defendant’s actions.
  • You suffered losses due to your injuries. These losses may be medical expenses, property damage, reduced earning capacity, or something else that has caused you to lose money or ability. You may need medical notes or expert testimony to prove this point.

Contact a Des Moines Personal Injury Lawyer

The right lawyer can make the difference between a successful claim and a long but fruitless legal battle. To discuss the best legal strategies for your circumstances, contact a Des Moines workers compensation lawyer with LaMarca Law Group, P.C. at (515) 705-0233.

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