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Proof of Negligence: The Key to Any Personal Injury Claim

Updated September 5, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

If you have been in an accident or have otherwise been involved in a situation that results in significant harm—whether temporary or permanent—it is in your best interest to contact an attorney.

Personal injury cases are complicated because the burden of proof is on your shoulders. By carefully interviewing and fact-finding, your lawyer will know if another person, business, or entity is legally responsible for the harm you experienced.

Proving Who Is at Fault

The theory of negligence is at the crux of all cases in which someone acts in a careless way and causes injury to another. If you and your personal injury lawyer decide to file a civil lawsuit in which you claim that another entity is legally responsible for your injuries, you—the plaintiff—must show that the defendant meets the following criteria:

  • Owed you legal duty in regards to the circumstance of your injuries
  • Went against that legal duty by acting or failing to act
  • Caused your injuries directly through their action or inaction
  • Harmed you through their action or inaction

For example, a doctor owes you the legal duty to employ best practices in medicine, and another driver owes you the legal duty to cease texting, using controlled substances, and arguing with a passenger while behind the wheel.

A Reasonable Person

The legal principle of a reasonably prudent person applies as the court tries to determine if the average person, knowing what the defendant knew, would have acted or failed to act differently than the defendant did. You, the plaintiff, can only recover damages (the cost of medical care now and in the future, lost wages, or pain and suffering) if you can prove that the defendant’s action or inaction was truly negligence and actually caused your injuries.

Likewise, unforeseeable but life-altering events—such as the defendant chopping down a tree in a lot 150 yards from a street on which you were driving when a gust of wind picks up a branch and jettisons it through your drivers-side window, knocking you unconscious—would not have been an action that the defendant could have reasonably predicted would cause injury. Therefore, your chances of winning a personal injury lawsuit against the tree-chopper is unlikely.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of another person’s negligence, contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


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