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How to Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Case

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Proving which party is at fault in a personal injury case is not always straightforward. Whether it’s a car accident or slip-and-fall, legal responsibility often falls on whether one was negligent. Negligence is the result of one party acting carelessly or recklessly and injuring another.

The negligent party may be liable for any harm inflicted. Fault is determined throughout informal negotiation talks, and a personal injury lawsuit trial if necessary. Enlisting the help of a Miami personal injury attorney is not just a suggestion, but a necessity to achieve the best possible outcome.

Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim

The injured party (plaintiff) must prove four things to demonstrate that the defendant’s actions or inactions were negligent:

  1. Duty of Care
  2. Breach of Duty of Care
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

Duty of Care

The first step in establishing negligence is to determine whether or not the defendant owed a legal duty of care. Duty of care is the legal obligation of a person or business to avoid any behaviors that could be foreseen as inflicting harm on others. For instance, if a customer entered in a door that was marked “Employees Only” and slipped and fell, the customer would not have a solid liability claim, because the store had no duty to protect customers that ignored the posted sign.

Breach of Duty

The next step is for the court to decide whether the defendant breached their duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way. In a negligence case, all parties must take “reasonable care” to avoid injury to others. For example, a bus driver may fail to pay attention while driving, and rear end another vehicle, resulting in a passenger on the bus suffering an injury. The breach of duty in this example is the bus driver not paying attention, and failing to keep his or her passengers safe.


The next element required to determine negligence asks the plaintiff to prove the defendant’s negligence did in fact cause his or her injury. The court also considers whether the defendant could have reasonably predicted that their actions might result in an injury. If the injury was caused due to a random act of nature and could not have been predicted, the defendant will not be held liable.


The last part of a negligence case is determining damages. Regardless of how an accident occurred, if the plaintiff shows that they were careful and the defendant was negligent, the defendant shall pay injury damages. This requires the defendant to reimburse the plaintiff for his or her injury through monetary compensation for expenses such as property repair or medical care.

Need Help Proving Negligence?

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another person, contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Graham Legal, P.A., today.

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