Elements of Negligence | Injury Claim | Clarksburg Injury Lawyer

Determining negligence in West Virginia is not always easy. Just because an accident happened and an individual was injured does not automatically mean that it was the result of negligence. Sometimes accidents just happen.

This is why you may want to work with an experienced Clarksburg personal injury attorney who can explain how the elements of negligence relate to your case and what you’ll need to do to prove that negligence in your West Virginia personal injury claim.

Continue reading to learn more about negligence and how Miley Legal can help you with personal injury claims. Call us today to schedule a free consultation. 

Elements of Negligence in West Virginia

In order to file a West Virginia personal injury claim, you’ll need to prove each of the following elements of negligence, including:

  • Duty — in order to establish negligence, it must be demonstrated that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to show reasonable care (with regards to their safety).
  • Breach of duty — it must also be shown that there was a breach of that duty, which occurs when there is a failure to exercise reasonable care.
  • Cause in fact — the cause of the plaintiff’s injury must be directly related to the defendant’s breach of duty or their failure to act in a reasonable manner.
  • Proximate cause — a defendant must have been able to foresee that their actions could result in harm to the plaintiff.
  • Injuries and damages — you’ll also need to prove that you were injured and prove the extent of those injuries and the extent of any property damage you claim.

So, filing a claim isn’t as easy as saying you get hurt by a defendant’s actions. You need to have proof that shows each element of negligence applies to your case. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine if your case meets these standards. Additionally, they can help you compile evidence that proves both fault and negligence.

Example of Determining Negligence

An example of an accident caused by negligence can be illustrated in the case of a child who is struck by a car while riding their bike. The driver may believe it was just an accident, but in order for the child’s parent to file a claim and recover damages to help with their child’s medical bills, they’ll need to prove each of the elements of negligence listed above.

If a child was bicycling down the street, the driver would have an obligation, or legal duty, to exercise caution. Let’s say that in this example, the driver was texting on their cell phone and swerved the car, which struck the child on the bicycle. In this case, the defendant breached their duty by texting while driving, causing them to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.

If the child was perfectly healthy before the accident but had a broken leg immediately after the accident, you could then prove the direct link between the driver’s actions and the child’s injury. You may also be able to establish the proximate cause as the driver should have been able to foresee that texting on their cell phone would distract them from paying attention to the road.

Injuries from a serious accident that was a result of someone else’s negligence in West Virginia may entitle you to file a negligence claim. Contact a Clarksburg personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case to determine if negligence was the direct cause of your injuries.

West Virginia Negligence Standard

Each state has different laws about negligence. These standards determine how much compensation you can receive if you were partially at fault for the accident. For example, say you were speeding and a drunk driver hit you. The drunk driver holds most of the blame, but the insurance company may try to hold you accountable for speeding. So what happens now?

West Virginia follows a comparative negligence standard. This means you can recover compensation for your damages if you were 50% or less at fault for the accident. However, your settlement amount will be reduced by the percentage of the accident that you caused. Going back to the example, if you are found to be 10% at fault for speeding, your total compensation will be decreased by 10%.

If you have more questions about fault and negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney from Miley Legal.

Contact a Clarksburg Personal Injury Attorney

Have you been injured in a Clarksburg car accident? If so, contact a personal injury lawyer from Miley Legal today. We will represent you and help you achieve a successful personal injury claim. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We will support you through every step of the negligence claims process.

Call a Clarksburg personal injury attorney from Miley Legal to schedule your free consultation.

Author Bio

Tim Miley is the Founder of Miley Legal Accident Injury Lawyers, a West Virginia personal injury law firm he formed in 2006. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, including car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, brain injuries, wrongful death, and other personal injury matters.

Tim received his Juris Doctor from Duquesne University and is a member of the West Virginia State Bar and the Harrison County Bar Association. He has helped his clients win more than $10 million in personal injury verdicts and settlements and has further served the people of West Virginia by filling legislative roles in the state’s government since 2004.

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