In negligence cases, the plaintiff (injured person) must prove on a balance of probabilities that someone else was negligent and that the alleged negligence caused the injuries sustained. While in some cases it may appear that it would be easy to establish negligence given the facts at hand, establishing negligence is rarely an easy task. What establishes negligence in each particular case is often very different. If the plaintiff fails to prove all of the elements of an action in negligence, the claim will fail and no damages will be awarded to the plaintiff.
When assessing negligence, it is the plaintiff’s onus at law to prove that the alleged person at fault owed them a duty of care to exercise reasonable care to the plaintiff. For example, all property owners and occupiers owe a duty of care to all persons who might reasonably be expected to use their property. If a property owner is aware that there is ice on their property for instance, they owe a duty of care to take steps that are necessary, within reason, to eliminate the risk of falls from the slippery surface. This may include removing the ice entirely or simply applying salt or sand. The particular circumstances of the property and its use will dictate the extent of the standard of care. In general, all persons owe duties of care to ensure that they do not harm other people and must act reasonable to avoid injuring other people. The standard of care in each case varies.
In addition to establishing that a duty of care was owed to the plaintiff, the plaintiff must also establish that the alleged person who was negligent also breached the standard of care. Moreover, the plaintiff must also establish that the injury complained about was caused by the breach of the duty of care. If the plaintiff is claiming monetary damages, it must be established that the damages was caused by the breach of the duty of care. In other words, the negligence must cause the harm claimed.
The above is a simplified summary of how the law of negligence may apply to a case involving personal injury. If you or someone you care about has been injured due to the negligence of another person, feel free to contact one of our knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. Our lawyers work on the basis of not charging a fee until you win the case, called contingency fee arrangement.