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Understanding Negligence

Understanding Negligence

Proving negligence is one of the most important aspects of any personal injury case. However, at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, we have found that many of our clients who have never been involved in a civil case don’t know what it means to be “negligent” from a legal perspective. In today’s blog post, we’re breaking it down!

If someone behaved in a negligent manner, it is much more likely that they will have to pay for your damages in many types of accidents and mistakes including:

  • Vehicular accidents (involving other vehicles or pedestrians)
  • Construction accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability
  • Slip, trip and fall
  • Wrongful death
  • And much, much more

So what is negligence?

The Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute defines negligence as, “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one’s previous conduct).

It’s easy to see how this can be applied to the above scenarios. 

How can negligence be proven?

To prove that someone who caused you harm was negligent in doing so, you must show that the circumstances were as follows: 

  1. The defendant had a duty to you.
  2. The defendant breached that duty.
  3. The breach of obligation caused your damages.
  4. You actually had damages or injuries as a result of that breach.

Navigating the Nuances

As with most things, there are nuances that can make understanding negligence a little more difficult. Different states also have different ways of approaching negligence in a personal injury case. For example, negligence is considered contributory when blame can be shared and multiple parties (including sometimes the plaintiff) made mistakes that led to the injury. When both parties are responsible, comparative negligence refers to the degree to which each caused the outcome. New York is one of 13 states that operate under a “pure” comparative fault law.

Work with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to get the justice you deserve. The team at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.