Ways to Prove Negligence
Many personal injury lawsuits rely on the presence of negligence, or a party’s failure to uphold a certain duty of care. While the concept of negligence may seem simple, it can be difficult to establish the defendant’s liability without strong evidence.
Understanding how to prove negligence—and seeking the help of a New York personal injury lawyer—can help you build a strong case for your right to compensation.
The Four Elements of Negligence
Negligence refers to an individual’s or entity’s breach of a certain duty of care. If this negligence results in someone else’s injuries, he or she can pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party and recover a financial award for medical expenses, lost wages, and other associated damages.
There are four elements necessary to prove a negligence claim: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed the plaintiff a certain duty of care at the time of the incident. This duty will vary based on the circumstances surrounding the accident.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident and the plaintiff’s resulting injuries.
- Damages: The plaintiff sustained damages in the accident that he or she can claim in the lawsuit.
For example, say that you are injured when a driver runs a red light and collides into you as you are crossing the street. In this situation, the driver has a duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely, and breached this duty by illegally running the red light. An attorney can help you gather the evidence necessary to establish causation and damages.
Evidence Necessary to Prove Negligence in New York
To prove negligence in a New York personal injury claim, you will need to gather strong evidence to establish each element and your right to compensation. There are several pieces of evidence that can help prove your claim, such as the following.
- Medical Records: Your medical records will help prove the nature and the extent of your injuries. You can use these valuable documents to prove that the accident caused your injuries and that you were injured following the accident. These records could also help prove your right to damages.
- Witness Testimony: Statements from other people who witnessed the accident can be extremely valuable in your future case. Witnesses can help validate your side of the story and provide important insight into the accident.
- Police Reports: When the police respond to an accident, an officer will create a report that you can use to establish the facts in your case. This report contains valuable information, including the names of the involved parties, the date and time of the accident, and the officer’s assessment of how the incident occurred.
- Surveillance Footage: Footage from traffic cameras, security systems, and other surveillance videos can be valuable in establishing negligence. This footage can validate your sequence of events and show the at-fault party breaching his or her duty of care.
If you are involved in an accident in New York, it is important to speak with a Syracuse personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A New York personal injury lawyer can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove negligence and establish your right to compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your next steps.