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A Look at the Basics of Negligence

Last updated 6 years ago

Negligence is a broad field of law that describes conduct that falls below a standard of care and causes injuries. Negligence often goes hand in hand with personal injury law, causing motor vehicle accidents, dog bite attacks, and slip and fall accidents. To establish a case for negligence, you must be able to prove the following four elements:


Every individual owes a duty of care to other people in a variety of ways. For example, when you are driving, you have a duty to drive safely and obey the rules of the road. Duty attempts to balance the interests of potential victims from harm against the interest of individuals to have freedom in their actions.


The second element that you must be able to prove in a negligence case is that the defendant breached the applicable duty of care. Breach is defined as behavior that falls below that of a reasonably prudent person in similar circumstances. The reasonably prudent person is a hypothetical, careful, individual and is not defined by how typical members of a community may act.


Causation is the link between the defendant’s conduct and your injuries. Even if the defendant breached his duty of care, a case for negligence cannot be established if his actions were not the source of your injuries.


Not all breaches of conduct cause harm. For example, you may accidently run a red light or speed while driving, but that does not necessarily mean that you injure someone every time this happens. However, when a breach of duty leads to harm, the victim of the breach is entitled to recover damages.

Do you believe you have been the victim of someone else’s negligence? Contact McCready, Garcia & Leet, P.C., a personal injury law firm in Chicago. Our attorneys pride themselves on providing efficient, prompt, and informed representation. We have demonstrated success at both the trial and appellate levels. Call (773) 779-9885 to learn how we can help.


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