Accidents happen all the time in Queens, and sometimes they are just that — an accident. In personal injury law, there are some components that need to be in place to find someone else negligent, either by doing something to cause your injury or failing to do something to protect you from injury. Those are not the only things that need to be proven if you initiate a personal injury suit in Queens. Several factors need to be present for someone to prove negligence in a personal injury suit.
If you want to hold someone liable for your injuries, then you have to prove you have to prove that the injuries you sustained were caused by someone or something else. Even if you can prove that someone acted with negligence, if you didn’t suffer any injuries, then it is unlikely that you will be able to recover for any “damages.”
There are five components that must be proven to assign negligence in a personal injury suit: Duty, Breach of Duty, Cause in Fact, Proximate Cause, and Damages.
One of the cornerstones to prove any personal injury lawsuit is that the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the defendant had a duty to protect the plaintiff. In personal injury, the plaintiff must prove that they had a relationship with the defendant, and that the relationship means the defendant was obligated to do or not do something in a particular way. Typically it isn’t up to a judge in Queens to determines whether there was Duty or not. Most matters of Duty come down to something called “reasonable care.”
Reasonable care is an ideal hypothetical in the court of law whereby a defendant’s action or inaction is compared to what would be expected of a “reasonable” person. It’s a subjective way to make a case objective; it does not take into account the individual defendant or any of their characteristics, but rather is based on what the “average” person would do in the same situation.
Breach of Duty
If Duty is determined, then the defendant can only be found negligent if they breach that duty of care. The way that a defendant “breaches” their Duty is that they did not fulfill their obligation with reasonable care. It is the jury’s job to determine whether the defendant breached the obligation or not.
Cause in Fact
For traditional negligence cases, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the actions of the defendant directly caused the injuries that they sustained. Sometimes referred to as “but-for” causation, the plaintiff has to prove that if the defendant did not act as they did, the injury would never have happened.
Once Cause is determined, then the jury has to decide how much of the responsibility for the injury lies in the defendant’s negligence. A defendant can only be held liable if they should have been able to see that the injury would have happened and if they had the ability to prevent it. For proximate cause, the jury also does not take into account what the defendant actually did know in the case; rather it is a hypothetical concept of what the defendant “should have” known or what any reasonable person should have foreseen.
For any plaintiff to win a personal injury suit, they have to establish not just that a person was negligent, but also that the plaintiff sustained injuries as a result. If there were no damages, then there is no case. In most personal injury lawsuits, the damages are physical ones. If the plaintiff cannot prove that any harm was done to them, then there is no way to win a Queens personal injury lawsuit.
If you are injured through the negligence of someone or something else, then you have to have all five components of personal injury law proven before you can collect for your injuries. The best way to recover in a personal injury suit is to hire Queens personal injury attorneys who can help you build a successful case.