What Does Someone Have To Do To Prove You Are Negligent?

If you have been accused of negligence that resulted in a personal injury, the first thing you should do is hire a competent attorney to represent you in court. The second thing you should do is remember that proving you've been negligent is not as easy as it may seem. To do so, your accuser must prove four things.

1. You had a duty to them.

To begin demonstrating that you were negligent, the prosecutor must first demonstrate that you had a duty to provide them with some level of protection. For example, if you are a store owner, they must demonstrate that as a store owner, you had an obligation to make your store a safe environment for them. If you're a manufacturer, you had a duty to provide them with a safe product. Proving duty is pretty easy, but rest assured, this is just the first element of proving negligence.

2. You breached that duty.

Here is where some arguments of negligence start to fall apart. The plaintiff must show that you did not satisfy the duty you had to them. So for example, if you were a store owner, they have to show that you did not meet your duty of providing a safe store. Is a puddle on the floor a breach of that duty, or is it just part of the nature of your business? That's up to the judge to decide based on the facts of the individual case. 

3. Your breach of duty caused the injury.

Breaching your duty is not, in and of itself, a problem. The problem arises when your breach of duty leads to an injury. To show that your breach of duty lead to the plaintiff's injury, they must often show medical records and other evidence connecting the two. Where this argument sometimes falls apart for them is if they did not seek medical care for days after the injury. Then, there is no way to show that they were not injured by some other cause -- not your breach of duty.

4. The injury led to damages.

The injury must have caused financial loss or difficulty in order for you to be found guilty of negligence. So, for example, if someone just bruised their shin because you did not clean up a puddle -- and the injury healed within a few days -- that person probably does not have a good case against you. On the other hand, if their injury cost them $30,000 in medical bills and lost wages, they would meet this criterion for negligence.

If all four criteria are not met, the plaintiff does not have a case of negligence against you. To learn more, speak to your negligence attorney.