Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are injured in accidents, and many of these injuries eventually find themselves being discussed and debated in an Oregon personal injury suit. In a majority of these cases, which may include injuries sustained from everything from workplace accidents to car accidents, the basis for holding someone responsible in legal terms for the injuries is grounded in a concept known as negligence. According to the FindLaw Legal Dictionary, negligence is defined as the “failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances in protecting others from a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm in a particular situation.”
In simpler terms, we can look at it like this. When a person acts in a negligent manner and thus causes harm to another person, according to the legal principle of negligence, that personal can be held legally responsible for causing that harm. In a court of law, negligence has to be proven as it is the basis for determining fault. Negligence may also be discussed prior to any court appearances when it comes to personal injury claims, particularly during settlement negotiations or any other discussions held prior to a trial date being set in an Oregon personal injury suit.
Essentially, if a plaintiff, or the person who was injured, is claiming negligence, they will have to work with their attorneys in order to prove that the defendant, or the person they are claiming is at fault, did four very particular things. These are:
- Given the particular circumstances, the defendant owed the plaintiff a reasonable, legal duty of care.
- The defendant failed to provide that duty of care through certain actions or inactions, including a complete and total failure to act.
- The defendant did in fact cause the accident or the injury sustained.
- The plaintiff was actually injured as a direct result of the defendant’s actions.
To better understand these concepts, we can take a look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that RJ ran through an intersection when his light was red and ended up hitting Rachel who was driving her vehicle through the intersection when she had a green light and thus the right of way. When Rachel brings a personal injury suit, she will need to prove that:
- RJ owed Rachel as well as any other drivers on the street a legal duty of care, meaning that he would drive with reasonable care and caution on public streets.
- Given his actions, RJ failed to provide that legal duty of care.
- RJ, in failing to provide the legal duty of care, did in fact cause the accident.
- Rachel suffered injuries and/or property damage due to the collision with RJ’s vehicle.
While this may seem very simple, the truth is that negligence claims can become extremely complicated, especially when more than one party may be considered at fault for the accident. The best thing to do is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help with your personal injury suit.