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What is Negligence?

Every person has the right to sue for damages if they suffer harm, loss, or injuries because of another’s negligence. Legally speaking, negligence is the lack of reasonable care that causes harm to a person.

But it’s one thing to know that someone was negligent — proving it in court is another matter. In order to prove a negligence claim, a person seeking damages needs to have their civil lawyer in Denver or the surrounding area to show certain elements that can prove that the other party was indeed negligent. 

The elements of negligence include: 

  1. Duty

In order to prove negligence, there must have been the presence of a legal duty between the parties. The duty in subject would depend on the relationship between the parties. 

For example, a doctor would have the duty to practice a certain standard of care when treating a patient, and if that duty is not met, then it can be said that there was negligence on his or her part. 

At the minimum, though, all of us have a duty to others. And that is the duty not to cause harm, loss, or injury to them. 

  1. Breach of that duty

For there to be negligence, a person must have breached that duty through his actions or inactions. A breach of duty happens when someone didn’t perform their obligations or actively harmed another. 

  1. Causation

Causation is the relationship between an action and its resulting effect. Courts usually break this concept down into two elements: causation in fact and proximate cause. 

Causation in fact means that the breach of the duty was directly the case of the injury, harm, or loss. In this case, there has to be a direct relation between the negligent act and the damages suffered. 

Proximate cause, on the other hand, relies on a concept known as foreseeability. Here, the act need not be directly related to the resulting injury. But it had to have been foreseeable to the defendant that their breach of duty would cause the injury or harm sustained. 

  1. Damages

In order to prove negligence, a person must have suffered some sort of damage because of the act or inaction of another. These can be emotional, physical, or psychological, but the damages need to be quantified in some manner. 

The Four Factors of Negligence

These four elements need to be proved in order to say that someone was negligent. And without these, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to defend a negligence claim. 

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Aaron
Belzer

Managing Partner - Civil Litigation

Boulder

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