What are the elements of a negligence claim?

This blog has previously discussed, in a variety of contexts, how an injured victim of an accident in the Bay Area, including Alameda County, can hold a responsible party financially accountable for her injuries if she can prove negligence.

In common parlance, negligence simply implies carelessness or thoughtlessness, but in the world of law, it is a term of art, a shorthand way of saying that four legal elements exist in combination such that a victim may get an order from a court requiring someone else to pay compensation.

In order to prove negligence, a victim must convince a judge or jury of the following: that, legally, the person or company involved in an accident had some obligation to look out for the well-being of the victim; that in some significant way, the person or company failed in that obligation; that the failure caused the victim's injuries; that the victim was hurt in some way that, albeit not perfectly, can be reduced to dollars.

These elements constitute what is called the tort of negligence. In effect, this means that if the victim can prove that is at least 51 percent likely that each of these elements exist, the victim has the legal right to have the responsible party pay him his damages and may get a court order, called a judgment, to that effect.

In premises liability cases, as with other accident claims, it is very important for the victim to do the investigation necessary to prove each element of negligence. This is necessary for the victim to get the compensation she deserves. A thorough investigation may be best accomplished with the help of an experienced legal professional.

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