Negligence is one of the cornerstones of personal injury claims. This means that to win your case, you must prove that there was negligence involved. In the legal sense, negligence refers to an individual’s obligation to act with care towards those around them. That is, acting towards others as anyone else would be expected to act. When you are driving a car, for example, it means that you need to drive in such a way as to avoid damaging other vehicles or hurting anyone that is sharing the road with you.

The Four Elements of Negligence

In personal injury cases, negligence includes four elements:

Duty of Care

Duty of care means that the defendant had a responsibility to act a certain way towards the plaintiff, which did not happen. The plaintiff must show how the defendant was responsible for their wellbeing and played a role in what happened.

Breach of Duty

This addresses whether the defendant breached the duty of care by doing or failing to do something that would be expected from an average person under similar circumstances.


This third element requires that the plaintiff show that their injuries and losses came about as a direct result of the breach of duty. It is essential to prove whether or not the defendant could have foreseen that their actions might cause these injuries and losses.


Because the plaintiff suffered injuries and losses due to the action or inaction of the defendant, monetary compensation can be received for those injuries. These may include expenses related to medical care to treat the injuries, wages lost by not being able to work while healing, pain, and suffering, and more.

Negligence is Crucial to Every Personal Injury Claim

Negligence involves carelessness, that is, actions or failure to act by another individual in a way any other reasonable person would have behaved under similar circumstances. To be successful in a personal injury claim, the person who was injured and suffered losses must be able to prove that negligence was indeed present when the accident took place.

A personal injury lawyer will help you prove that your injuries are directly linked to the defendant’s negligence and build a strong case in which the damages you seek will be clearly stated.

Damages in Personal Injury Cases

If you are filing a claim against whoever is responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include all expenses related to your medical care, the losses of personal property you have suffered, such as the damage to your car, the wages you are not receiving by being unable to work due to the injuries, and anything else you are paying out-of-pocket to deal with the result of the accident.

Non-economic damages are harder to quantify but also important. They include the pain and suffering you may be experiencing, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and any other physical or emotional situation you may be going through since the accident. Personal injury lawyers Wattel and York recommend that you work with a personal injury lawyer that will help you come up with the correct figure that would cover your non-economic damages.