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Understanding Breach of Duty in Personal Injury Cases

— June 22, 2023

Breach of duty is a critical element in personal injury cases, requiring the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant failed to meet the expected standard of care.

Personal injury cases can be distressing and life-altering, often leaving individuals physically, emotionally, and financially shattered. When someone else’s negligence or recklessness causes harm, it is crucial to determine whether there has been a breach of duty, a fundamental aspect of personal injury law. 

Defining Breach of Duty

Legal experts from Grossman Attorneys at Law state that a breach of duty refers to the failure of an individual or entity to meet the standard of care expected in a given situation. In personal injury cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care, resulting in the injury or harm suffered. It requires establishing that the defendant’s actions or lack thereof fell short of what a reasonable person or professional would have done in similar circumstances.

The Standard of Care

The standard of care varies depending on the context of the case. For example, the standard of care expected from a doctor in a medical malpractice case would be different from that of a driver involved in a car accident. The law considers factors such as the defendant’s profession, expertise, and the circumstances surrounding the incident to determine the appropriate standard.

Proving Breach of Duty

Proving breach of duty requires presenting evidence that demonstrates the defendant’s failure to meet the standard of care. This evidence can take various forms, including eyewitness testimonies, expert opinions, medical records, surveillance footage, or even accident reconstruction reports. The plaintiff’s legal team often works meticulously to gather and present this evidence to establish a compelling case.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence recognizes that the plaintiff may have also contributed to the incident to some degree. In such cases, the court assigns a percentage of fault to each party involved, and the plaintiff’s compensation may be reduced based on their level of contribution. However, even if the plaintiff shares some responsibility, they can still pursue a claim and potentially receive compensation.

Significance in Personal Injury Cases

It serves as the bridge between the defendant’s actions and the harm suffered by the plaintiff. Without proving that the defendant breached their duty of care, it becomes challenging to establish legal liability and seek compensation for the damages incurred. Breach of duty forms the foundation of accountability by holding responsible parties answerable for their negligent or reckless actions.

Compensation for Damages

When a breach of duty is established, the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for various types of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and rehabilitation costs. The purpose of compensation is to restore the plaintiff to the best possible position they were in before the incident occurred, to the extent that financial compensation can achieve this.

Breach of duty is a critical element in personal injury cases, requiring the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant failed to meet the expected standard of care. It is through this breach of duty that accountability is established, and the injured party can seek compensation for their losses and suffering. Personal injury law strives to ensure that those responsible for causing harm are held liable, offering some solace and support to individuals facing the aftermath of a traumatic event.

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