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What You Need to Know About Negligence

In your daily life, it can often be easy to become careless. Daily commutes to work, running late to appointments and stress at home preoccupying your mind can take a toll on your attention to detail. Unfortunately, acts of carelessness can sometimes lead to someone else getting hurt or injured. In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, those acts of carelessness are referred to as “negligence”.

Forms of Negligence

There are two different kinds of negligence. Those are “action” or “inaction”. An action form of negligence is when someone physically does something to cause injury to another person. For example, if a worker throws a hammer off the fourth story of a building and it strikes someone on the street below, it is a form of negligent action.

With the second form of negligence, inaction, there is a failure to take a necessary action. For instance, if a property owner fails to take steps to remove ice from a sidewalk and someone falls on it, this would be considered a form of personal injury negligence inaction.

If you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. In most places, including the state of California, you will have to show the defendant failed to exercise an acceptable amount of care and that failure caused your injury. You will also have to show that the defendant’s actions, or lack of action, caused you to suffer damages.

Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Case

There are specific points that you must be able to prove in order to be successful when filing a San Francisco personal injury lawsuit. These are:

A Duty of Care

The term “Duty of Care” refers to the responsibility that we all have to take action to prevent harm to other people around us. In the eyes of the law, if an average reasonable person could foresee that an injury might occur as the result of a certain action or inaction, they have a duty of care to avoid those situations.

Sometimes these actions are very obvious. For instance, if you drive through a crosswalk while someone is walking across, you inherently know that if you don’t stop to let them cross, you could run over and injure them. Drivers who do not pay attention to their surroundings, known as distracted driving, fail to exhibit a duty of care.

On the other hand, it can often be difficult to prove if an action will lead to someone’s injury. For example, after a snow storm, your driveway can be very slippery. Is it your duty of care to prevent falls by shoveling the snow and adding de-icer? If so, just how long should it take you to perform your duty of care? What if it takes you three days to clear your driveway, but someone falls on your property beforehand? Sometimes San Francisco laws help to determine issues like these, but it can often come down to the court’s opinion in the end. This is a good example as to why you will need an experienced San Francisco personal injury lawyer to guide you.


Another factor in proving a San Francisco personal injury case is cause. You must show that your injury was caused by another party’s negligence. This can be as straightforward as the distracted driver who does not stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. Another example would be if a landlord does not fix a broken step and a tenant falls down the flight of stairs as a result.


Finally, you must prove that you suffered damages as a result of someone’s action or inaction. Examples of such damages are long absences from work due to the injury or huge medical bills that are run up as a result of treating your injury. In fact, if you become disabled as a result of someone else’s negligence, resulting damages could include the total loss of your ability to work and earn a living to support yourself.

In addition to showing the above, there may be many other factors involved in proving your San Francisco personal injury case. As each case is time-sensitive, referring to California’s statutes of limitations, the most important thing you can do when determining if you have a valid claim is to receive timely, sound legal advice from a San Francisco personal injury lawyer.

If you have been injured in an accident, or for more information about proving negligence, schedule a consult with San Francisco personal injury attorney Nelson C. Barry III today.



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