When an accident occurs, it may be difficult to determine who was at fault. In cases where someone’s negligence or recklessness causes harm to another, the negligent party may be liable for any damages incurred by the victim. In order to establish negligence, however, four criteria must be met.
Four Criteria of Negligence
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, you will have to prove that the following four criteria were met in order for your claim to be recognized in court:
1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. An example of this criterion could be a landlord who owes their tenants a home with up-to-date gas lines.
2. The defendant failed to provide that duty of care. The landlord does not maintain their property’s gas lines.
3. The defendant’s breach of duty resulted in the plaintiff’s injury. Leaky gas lines caused the tenants to suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning.
4. The plaintiff sustained injury and/or damages because of the defendant’s breach of duty. Consequently, tenants may have suffered from asphyxiation. Other possibilities include hospital visits and medical bills due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
In order to provide sufficient evidence to establish negligence, you will need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will help you collect any pertinent information, such as photographs, testimonies, and medical records.
Once negligence has been established, the defendant will be considered liable for the victims’ damages. Damages may include any number of things, including:
• Medical expenses
• Lost wages due to injury
• Pain and suffering
• Property damages
• Psychological distress
Collecting Your Compensation
Compensation will vary depending on the circumstances and severity of each case. In most personal injury cases, the opposing parties and their lawyers negotiate a settlement amount that is considered adequate compensation.
If settlement negotiations are prolonged over a long period of time, and neither party can reach an agreement, the case may be presented before a judge; however, this is rare. When presented in court, settlement amounts may be drastically different from what was previously discussed between the two parties. Judges have sole and final ruling on personal injury cases, which is why most claimants prefer to settle outside of the court room.
For more information on negligence, or if you need a legal representative to file a personal injury claim, contact the Oklahoma personal injury lawyers at the Abel Law Firm today.