Frequently Asked Questions - What Are The Elements Of Negligence Per Se?
Negligence is defined as the failure to take care, essentially meaning someone did or did not do something they were supposed to do which ended up causing an accident or injury to another person. If you have a personal injury claim, usually this means that someone else was negligent in their job or driving on the road. Negligence can cause numerous different injury claims and can result in severe injury or even death.
If you are shopping in a store and you slip on a puddle of water and fall and injure yourself, most people would automatically assume that the store was negligent in cleaning up the spill. This is not always the case. In one instance, if someone spills water or any liquid on the floor and you come right behind them and immediately fall, this is not negligence on the store or their employees. They can be found to have caused a negligent act if there was water on the floor for a long period of time a no employee cleaned it up or an employee was in the immediate area and ignored the water spill. An employee of the store or premises where you are injured must have had sufficient time and notice of the danger in order to remedy the situation. If they did not, no negligence has occurred on their part.
Another example of a negligent act is if you are renting a house or apartment and have a leaky pipe in your home, if you slip and fall due to the water on the floor, the owner or manager must have had sufficient notice of the leak in order to have caused a negligent act. If you have informed the owner or manager of the situation and no one has come to fix the damage after a few days, the negligence lays with the owner or manager of the home because they had sufficient time to repair the damage before an injury could occur. If you fall and have not notified the owner or manager, they have had no notice of the danger and have not had a chance to fix the damage before an accident occurred. The best way to notify an owner or manager of a potentially dangerous situation is in writing, whether through certified mail or email. If you have written proof that you put the owner or manager on notice and they did nothing to remedy the situation, then you can prove a clear-cut negligence claim. The owner or manager would then be at fault for the situation and would be responsible for any injuries you sustain. If you cannot prove that you put the owner or manager on notice of the situation, the owner or manager can argue that they did not know about the danger and therefore, did not have sufficient time to remedy the situation before you were injured. If there is surveillance footage of the accident, you should try to obtain this footage to the best of your ability as this will prove if a negligent act has occurred and can be the best evidence you can have.
If you are involved in an auto accident, it is not always so clear as to who is at fault or negligent for the accident. Sometimes, multiple parties can be found to have caused a negligent act. This is known as a comparative negligence claim. If both parties or multiple parties involved in the accident caused the action to contribute to the accident, they will both or all be found partially liable for the accident. In this situation, the insurance company will assign a percentage each party is at fault and will only payout that percentage towards the claim. For example, if you are attempting to make a right-hand turn at a red light and you pull out into traffic but are then hit by a vehicle that was traveling way over the speed limit, both parties could essentially be found to be at fault for the accident. You were at fault for pulling out into oncoming traffic, but the other party can also be at fault for not maintaining a safe speed in order to apply their brakes in time to avoid a collision. If you are involved in an accident involving comparative negligence, it would be a wise decision to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will be able to guide you through the process and maximize your claim to the best of their ability. Insurance companies always want to save themselves as much money as possible by paying out the least amount of money, especially in comparative negligence claims. An experienced personal injury attorney knows what to do and say to get the insurance company to pay out the most amount of money possible for your pain and suffering.
If you are involved in an accident and it is clear the other party committed a negligence action, your case will go much more smoothly. A crash report is sometimes the best way to prove negligence in an auto accident. After the accident, you should always call the police so they can document exactly what happened in the accident and will take statements of all parties involved, including any independent witnesses. If the other party in the accident is clearly at fault, this will be noted on the crash report and you can send that to the insurance company so they can clearly tell who the negligent party was and will know how to proceed with your claim. If the police are unable to determine fault at the scene and both parties are blaming the other, the insurance companies will take statements from all parties involved in the accident and will determine who the negligent party was that way, or will assign a percentage of negligence to both parties. Again, the best thing to do in this type of situation would be to hire an experienced personal injury to represent your interest and maximize your recovery and fight for your rights.
Proving negligence in a personal injury claim can sometimes be very difficult unless you have clear proof. The best way to do this is with any video surveillance footage or written documents back and forth to the at-fault party. With clear evidence, your case will go much smoother and you will likely not have to take your claim all the way to trial.