Personal injuries can result from a wide range of accidents and incidents, from car collisions to slip and falls. In personal injury claims, the injured party seeks compensation for their damages from the responsible party. However, a common misconception is that to succeed in a personal injury claim, one must always prove that the defendant had the intent to do harm.
The foundation of most personal injury claims is the legal concept of negligence, not intent. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care that an ordinary person would under similar circumstances. A plaintiff typically needs to establish the following elements of negligence:
- Duty: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, meaning they had a legal obligation to act reasonably and prevent foreseeable harm.
- Breach:The defendant breached their duty of care by acting negligently or failing to act when they should have.
- Causation:The plaintiff must demonstrate a direct link between the defendant's breach of duty and the injuries suffered.
- Damages:The plaintiff must have incurred actual damages, such as medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering.
In most personal injury cases, the focus is on the defendant's negligence or carelessness rather than their intent to cause harm.
Proving intent in personal injury claims
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim based on intentional harm, only then will you need to prove intent. In other words, you’ll need to prove the defendant intended to cause harm, or acted recklessly with the knowledge that harm was highly likely to occur. While intent may be a key element in some cases, most personal injury claims revolve around negligence and the duty of care that one person owes to another.
Call the knowledgeable Sarasota, FL personal injury lawyers at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh for assistance today.