Negligence is the legal theory that a person's behavior was thoughtless or reckless and it was this negligence that caused another person injury or loss. Plaintiffs who wish to file a personal injury claim must prove several elements of their claim to win compensation for their loss. First the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. This means the defendant was expected to act in a certain manner toward the plaintiff. Next the plaintiff must prove breach of duty. In a car accident case this may occur if the defendant was speeding, running a red light or driving recklessly. If the driver was not following traffic laws or did show reasonable care while they were driving, the court may find they breached their duty of care. Next the plaintiff must prove "causation" or that the defendant's actions caused the plaintiff's losses or injuries. This can be proven by showing that the plaintiff would not have been injured if not for the actions of the defendant. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that they have suffered actual loss from the defendant's negligent actions. If the plaintiff can prove the defendant's failure to exercise reasonable care caused actual damages or loss, the plaintiff may be entitled to benefits. Compensation or damages in a personal injury case can include payment for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering.
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