What Is Negligence in a Connecticut Personal Injury Case?

Personal Injury On Monday, January 10, 2022

Not all accidents result in personal injury cases in Connecticut – not even those that cause bodily injuries or property damage. To file a lawsuit in Connecticut, the injured victim must have legal grounds to do so, such as negligence. Negligence is an important legal concept, as it is the foundation for most personal injury cases. Learn the definition of negligence to get started with your personal injury claim.

What Is the Legal Definition of Negligence?

According to Cornell Law School, the definition of negligence in the context of personal injury law is the failure to act with the level of care that an ordinary and prudent person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances. Negligence can refer to both an action or failure to act (an omission or default). Determining whether someone acted with reasonable care requires looking at whether the person’s conduct created a foreseeable likelihood that someone would be harmed, and if that person then took due care to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm.

What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?

In personal injury law, someone is negligent if they behave in a way that falls short of the accepted level of care. Negligence can take many forms – examples include a motor vehicle driver who texts and drives and a property owner who fails to repair a cracked sidewalk. When negligence causes injuries to others, the negligent party can be held financially responsible, or liable. The easiest way to understand the legal doctrine of negligence is to break it down into its four key elements:

  1. Duty of care. The allegedly at-fault party (the defendant) must have owed the victim an obligation to act with ordinary care. Some defendants are held to higher standards, such as a doctor’s duty of care to a patient.
  2. Breach of the duty of care. A violation of the duty of care; any act or omission that goes against what a prudent and responsible person would do in a similar situation.
  3. Actual cause. A provable link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the victim’s injury or harm; in other words, proof that the injury would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence.
  4. Damages suffered. Finally, proving negligence requires evidence of compensable damages, such as lost wages, physical injury, disability, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

In general, an injured person in Connecticut can hold one or more parties liable for an accident if the defendant(s) failed to use reasonable care to prevent foreseeable harm to another person or property. If you are not sure whether your recent accident contains the four elements of negligence or permits you to bring a civil lawsuit in Connecticut, consult with a personal injury lawyer to find out if your case has merit.

How Can You Prove Negligence in a Connecticut Personal Injury Case?

It is not enough to believe that someone else breached a duty of care and caused your injury. To receive financial compensation, you or your lawyer must provide proof of negligence. The burden of proof in a personal injury case is a preponderance of the evidence – clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is more likely responsible for your injury than not. You may be able to build a claim using evidence such as:

  • A police report
  • Photographs and videos
  • Surveillance footage
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Signed eyewitness statements or testimony
  • Testimony from qualified experts
  • Medical records and documents
  • An injury journal

The most effective way to prove negligence during a personal injury case is by hiring an attorney to represent you. An attorney can preserve important evidence to support your claim by filing subpoenas that require the defendant not to alter or destroy any information. A lawyer can also further explain the legal theory of negligence and how it applies to your case. Contact an attorney in Wallingford, Connecticut today for more information.

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