Be it a personal injury commercial, a legal show, or just hearing it from a lawyer firsthand, you’ve probably heard the term “negligence” at some point. It’s a term you’ll hear quite a bit if you’re ever involved in a personal injury claim, but what does it actually mean and what are the elements of negligence? 

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Negligence occurs when an individual owes a duty to another individual and fails to uphold it. Examples can include medical malpractice, an auto accident, and so on. Negligence can be the result of both action and inaction. Among our various areas of practice, here are some of the typical types of negligence cases where Foley & Small can provide expert legal service.  

Common Types of Negligence 

  • Auto accidents 
  • Medical malpractice 
  • Product liability 
  • Workplace accidents 

Take under advisement, however, that just because an incident falls under one of these categories, this doesn’t necessarily mean it can be considered negligence. If you’re wondering if something qualifies as negligence, there are five factors that must be considered:  

Elements of Negligence 

  1. The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff 
  1. The defendant failed to meet that duty 
  1. The plaintiff wouldn’t have suffered the injury if it wasn’t for the defendant’s action or inaction 
  1. Any injuries sustained by the plaintiff or plaintiff’s property was the proximate (next or close to next within the sequence of events) result of the defendant’s action or inaction 
  1. The plaintiff suffered damages 

It’s also important to realize that the state of Indiana recognizes contributory/comparative negligence. This means that the law recognizes that the plaintiff can be partially at fault for their injuries, so their damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. For the plaintiff to file an injury claim, they must be less than 51% at fault.  

Time plays a vital role when filing a claim. Depending on the state, there is a limited amount of time in which you can file for personal injury or wrongful death. According to Indiana’s civil statute of limitations, the window of opportunity for filing a personal injury or injury to personal property claim is two years. This may seem like a long time but remember that some of that time may be needed to recover after suffering an injury.  

Understanding the basics of claiming negligence is a useful tool should you find yourself in a situation that calls for legal action. However, we understand that the full ins and outs of the concept can be challenging. Therefore, you should seek professional legal advice. If you believe you’re owed compensation due to another’s lack of care, contact the experienced team at Foley & Murphy to get you the justice you deserve.  

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