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What is Personal Injury Negligence?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Personal injury negligence is a legal term for carelessness that leads to personal harm. Sometimes personal injury negligence involves a careless action that injures another person, such as knocking a can of paint off a ladder and onto another person’s head. In other cases, it may involve failure to take a necessary action. For instance, if a property owner fails to take steps to remove ice from a sidewalk and someone falls on it, this may be considered personal injury negligence.

If a person’s negligence leads to injury of another person, he may face a personal injury lawsuit. For example, a person who slips on a store’s wet floor may begin a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the store. Slipping and falling, however, may not be enough to ensure that the person will win the lawsuit. In most places, the injured party will have to demonstrate that the defendant failed to live up to a duty, and that failure caused his injury. He will usually also have to demonstrate that the defendant’s actions or lack of action caused him to suffer damages.

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Part of winning a personal injury negligence case is demonstrating that the defendant breached his duty of care. Essentially, if the average reasonable person could foresee that injury may occur as the result of certain actions or situations, he has a duty of care to avoid those actions or situations. For instance, if a reasonable person can foresee that throwing construction debris off a roof may injure those walking below, the person working with these materials has a duty of care to avoid such actions. If a person throws materials off a roof anyway and they hit someone passing below, the person who threw them has breached the duty of care he has to others.

Cause is another important factor in personal injury negligence. An individual who sues for personal injury negligence must demonstrate that his injury is the result of another party’s carelessness. For example, a person may fall down a flight of stairs because a landlord failed to maintain the steps. If the injured party has back pain after the fall, he’ll need to demonstrate that the fall caused the pain rather than an injury or condition that was present before his fall.

Finally, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit typically has to show that he suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s actions or inaction. For example, a person may suffer such damages as medical costs and time off work after an injury. If a person becomes disabled because of another party’s negligence, the damages he suffers may include the loss of his occupation and money to support himself.

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