What is Negligence?

Negligence Casenegligence case

Negligence is a legal concept used to establish who is at fault in a personal injury case. Damage, injury, or death can be caused by a car accident, birth injury, police brutality, slip and fall, medical malpractice, or otherwise. When an incident is preventable, there is a failure to act, or an act is committed that a reasonably careful person would not do, and the result is harmful or even fatal, the situation is often categorized as a negligence case.

Discussing your circumstances with a Michigan personal injury attorney is the best way to determine where you stand regarding legal rights to file a claim against a person or business.

Examples of Negligence

It may not always be clear whether your case qualifies as negligence. Here are just some examples of obvious negligence:

  • A motorist who hits a pedestrian.
  • A motorist who rear-ends another driver.
  • A doctor who fails to properly deliver a child.
  • A doctor who gives an incorrect diagnosis.
  • A lifeguard who fails to rescue someone who is drowning.
  • A business owner who fails to repair hazardous conditions.
  • A reckless person who causes property damage.
  • A manufacturer who fails to create a safe product.
  • A dog owner whose pet attacks someone.

The Four Elements of Negligence

Negligence is not a word that defines a specific wrong. It is an umbrella term that shows where someone failed at their duty, for example, to drive safely, protect someone, or care for another person.

The “duty of care” is a legal term that refers to a person’s responsibility to avoid causing harm to another person. In a personal injury lawsuit, four things must be proven to show that the defendant acted negligently:

  1. That they had a DUTY of care. Did the defendant have a responsibility to the plaintiff to provide a legal duty of care? A doctor has the legal duty to provide competent medical care. A motorist has the legal duty to follow the rules of the road to minimize any potential accident threats to others.
  2. That they failed to uphold, or BREACHED, this duty. Would a reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances have acted legally or appropriately? In other words, would the average person do the right thing in this situation? Would the average person have acted differently than the defendant to prevent injury?
  3. That the action or inaction CAUSED the injury. How was someone injured because of the other person’s action or inaction? Someone might be allegedly acting negligently, but this negligence must cause the injury. Random or unexpected situation or acts of nature do not qualify as causation but, for example, it could reasonably be foreseen that purposely texting while driving could cause an accident.
  4. That harm or injury were the resulting DAMAGES. Did the plaintiff suffer an injury or problem that can be remedied by financial compensation? Property repair, medical care, rehabilitation costs or equipment, pain and suffering, lost wages, ongoing medical problems, hospital bill, loss of quality of life.

Do You Have a Michigan Negligence Case?

There are accidents and there is carelessness. Operating a vehicle, providing medical care, running a business, owning a home – these are all responsibilities that come with legal obligations. The careless person is legally liable for any resulting harm.

Every negligence case is different and has its own set of facts. Demonstrating a breach of care requires your Michigan lawyer to show what the appropriate standard of care is in the given situation. Contact Thurswell Law for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We have extensive experience in proving negligence. Our attorneys will give you the best chance to receive full compensation for your suffering. There are no fees unless you collect. Call us at (248) 354-2222 to schedule your free consultation.


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