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How to Prove Negligence in a Chicago Personal Injury Case?

Posted on January 16, 2023

If you or somebody you care about sustained an injury caused by the negligent actions of another entity or individual in Chicago, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, doing so requires proving the other party’s negligence. But what does it mean to prove negligence?

Here, we want to examine the four basic elements of negligence that must be present in order for a claim to be successful. We also want to discuss some of the main types of evidence needed to prove these elements of negligence.

The Elements of Negligence for a Personal Injury Claim

For any personal injury case, there will need to be four elements of negligence in place.

  1. Duty of care. The first step is showing that the plaintiff (the injury victim) was owed a duty of care by the defendant (the person who allegedly caused the injury). A duty of care will look different depending on the situation at hand. For example, a property owner has a duty to ensure the safety of any person who has a right to be on the premises. Drivers all have a duty to ensure that they operate their vehicles safely. Medical professionals have a duty to uphold the standard of medical care acceptable for the particular situation.
  2. Breach of duty. After establishing that the defendant did owe the plaintiff a duty of care, it needs to be shown that the defendant somehow breached their duty of care. A breach of duty will look different, again depending on the situation at hand. For example, if a driver fails to use their turn signal when changing lanes, this would be a breach of duty of care. If doctors fail to obtain patient consent before performing a procedure, this could certainly be a breach of duty of care.
  3. Causation. After establishing that a breach of duty occurred, it needs to be shown that the breach is what led to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Typically, after a breach occurs, it is not difficult to establish whether or not the breach caused the injury. However, there are certain factors that could result in shared fault.
  4. Damages. The last step in determining negligence is showing that the plaintiff sustained monetary losses as a result of their injuries and the recovery process.

The Proof Needed to Establish Negligence

Establishing the four elements of negligence can be challenging, and this revolves around an attorney gathering as much evidence as possible. Again, every personal injury claim is different, so the process of gathering evidence and the types of evidence gathered will vary depending on the situation at hand.

However, without evidence, there is often no way to know whether or not a breach of duty occurred and whether the breach caused the injuries.

Some of the main types of evidence used to prove that a personal injury occurred include:

  • Photographs and video surveillance taken at the scene of the incident
  • Surveillance footage from nearby cameras
  • Statements from any eyewitnesses to the incident
  • Safety and training records related to the defendant
  • Police or accident reports
  • Employment records
  • Training records
  • Medical records
  • Vehicle data recorder information
  • Mobile device data records

Sometimes, the evidence is not quite enough to prove liability. It may be necessary to work with trusted accident reconstruction experts or various other expert witnesses who can shed light on how the incident likely occurred, the injuries the plaintiff sustained, and the economic situation the plaintiff must now deal with. We strongly suggest working with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Chicago who can help you through every aspect of your particular claim.

When you work with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Chicago, you will have an advocate by your side who can use their resources to investigate the incident. These claims can be challenging, but it is essential to prove negligence in order for injury victims to recover compensation for their losses.