When you suffer a needless injury because of the careless acts of another person, there are a number of different legal theories that may be used to pursue compensation for your losses. In most instances, however, your claim will be based on an allegation of “negligence.” Negligence is a legal term, with specific elements that must be proven in court:
- You must show that the defendant breached an accepted “standard of care”
- You must show a causal link between the defendant’s conduct and your injury
- You must show that you suffered actual losses as a result of the accident
The Standard of Care
As the common law of negligence has evolved, the courts have established and reinforced the concept that everyone has a duty, in everything they do, to exercise a certain level of care. Whether you are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, maintaining steps or stairs, designing or operating a power tool, or manufacturing a consumer product, it is expected that you will exercise a certain minimal level of care, so as not to pose an unreasonable risk to others. The standard in New Jersey, as in other states, is fairly general – you must act as a “reasonable person” would.
Some states have narrowed that definition a little, holding that a reasonable person is an “average person of ordinary prudence.” The ultimate determination of whether a defendant breached a duty of care rests with the jury, though. Juries are tasked with determining the facts in a case, and whether or not the defendant acted reasonably is considered an issue of fact.
Click here to learn about causation in a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact the Law Offices of Gregg A. Wisotsky
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact my office online or call me at 973-898-0161. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.