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Negligence in Personal Injury and Car Accident Lawsuits

Negligence is a common claim in personal injury cases. “Negligence means that a person did not use reasonable care.” MUJI 2d CV202A. More specifically, negligence consists of four elements—namely: (1) Duty, (2) Breach, (3) Causation, and (4) Damages. See Scott v. Utah County, 2015 UT 64, ¶ 25, 20130257. In order to succeed on a claim for negligence, you must prove each of the foregoing elements. See id.


First, you must prove that a duty is owed. “In negligence cases, a duty is ‘an obligation … to conform to a particular standard of conduct toward another.’” B.R. ex rel. Jeffs v. West, 275 P.3d 228, 2012 UT 11 (Utah 2012)(quoting AMS Salt Indus., Inc. v. Magnesium Corp. of Am., 942 P.2d 315, 321 (Utah 1997)). In other words, a person cannot be negligent towards another unless the law requires them to follow a certain level of conduct.

Second, you must prove that there was a breach of the duty. Third, you must show that the opposing party’s breach was the proximate cause for the harm. Fourth, you must prove the opposing party’s negligence caused you harm. If no harm resulted from the other person’s negligence, you will not have a claim for negligence.

A common example of negligence is in car accident lawsuits. Motorists have a duty to drive their automobiles in a safe and reasonable manner. People, however, breach this duty when they do not safely drive their cars, and cause harm to other drivers, passengers or pedestrians.

Examples of negligence in automobile accident cases could include: When a driver fails to slow down and rear ends another driver; a driver does not make a left turn quickly enough and runs into a driver from the opposite lane of traffic; or a driver hits a pedestrian on a cross-walk.

The types of harm and damages from a negligent driver could include: medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, future medical costs, future lost wages, and property damages.

At Head Law, we have many years of experience with personal injury and automobile accident cases. When another person injures you we understand the great impact that has on you and your family, and we will fight aggressively for your rights to ensure that you get full and fair compensation.