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Understanding Negligence

Negligence is a term people familiar with personal injury law often hear, and for good reason. Negligence is probably the single most commonly used basis for personal injury claims. If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you understand what negligence means and why it is so important to your case.

Negligence essentially means failing to act according to reasonable and accepted community standards of conduct aimed at protecting both oneself and others. The law recognizes that, although the written code cannot possibly cover every safety situation that arises, all people have an obligation to act responsibly and logically to preserve the social order. When that obligation is broken, and causes someone else to injure themselves, the person who caused the incident may be considered negligent and held financially responsible for any resulting damages.

Deciding what is or is not negligent is generally based on accepted community standards, not necessarily what is common. Even if it is “normal” for people to drive home from a party drunk, that is still not considered reasonable conduct. It is important to keep this in mind when thinking about negligence. Neither is negligence applied the same way to all people. Certain people, such as doctors or lawyers, have specialized training for their professions and are therefore held up to a different, higher set of standards than average citizens. It is reasonable, for example, to expect that a doctor follow proper procedure when performing a surgery; anything less than that would be malpractice.

When you take your personal injury claim to court, you will need to take several steps in order to prove the other party negligent and hold them responsible for the injuries you suffered:

  • First, you need to show that the defendant could reasonably be expected to act in a certain way or take certain precautions to ensure safety (putting up a slippery floor sign after mopping a tile floor, for example).
  • Second, you must prove that the defendant failed to meet the reasonable standards of conduct (i.e., show that they did not put up the slippery floor sign).
  • Third, you need to prove that the accident, and your injuries, were direct consequences of the defendant failing to act responsibly (because you did not know the floor was slippery, you fell and hurt yourself).

Having good legal representation is a must in personal injury cases. The capable Sheboygan personal injury attorneys at Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® maybe able to provide the legal guidance you need. Call them at (920) 459-8000 today.