What Is Negligence?

new york litigation attorney  

What is negligence and can a person who was a victim of negligence file a lawsuit for damages?

Professionals must exercise reasonable care when they work with others. When a plaintiff files a lawsuit claiming negligence, they are stating that the defendant breached their duty of care to the plaintiff.

A plaintiff suing for negligence must prove three things in a court of law:

1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. 2. The defendant breached their duty of care. 3. As a result of breaching that duty of care, the defendant caused the plaintiff to suffer damages.

The standard of care a professional is held to depends on that particular professional’s industry. A surgeon has different standards and rules than a financial adviser, but they both have a duty of care to their clients.

Once a plaintiff can show that the defendant owed them a legal duty, they must present adequate evidence that shows that the professional breached their duty of care. To prove that the defendant was acting carelessly and was liable, the plaintiff could show what a “reasonably prudent person” would do in a similar situation.

To win damages, a plaintiff must prove causation—they must prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions directly caused their injuries or damages. They must also prove that an average person could have foreseen those actions causing damages. Basically, what this means is that the plaintiff’s damages were not a result of a random act of nature.

There must be damages that the courts can compensate plaintiff for. Damages could compensate for medical bills, lost wages, or property damage.

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