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What are the 4 elements of a negligence claim?

Before you can prove that someone is at fault for a loved one's wrongful death, you need to be able to prove negligence. What is negligence, though? How can you be sure that's what caused the accident or injury that your loved one suffered?

Negligence claims have four parts. The first is a duty of care. Someone can't be negligent toward someone who he or she has no duty toward. For instance, if someone is driving on the street, there's no reason that person should be responsible for an accident inside a home, unless the vehicle collides with the home. However, if someone is crossing a road and gets hit by a car speeding in a residential area, the driver did have a duty of care to the residents and should have been driving at or under the speed limit.

You'll need to show that the person breached the duty of care. That breach, in the above instance, took place when the driver chose to speed. Following that, you can prove causation. Because the driver was speeding, he didn't have time to slow down or stop for pedestrians. That caused the accident that killed the pedestrian.

Finally, you need to show how the person's death was a direct result of the accident. For example, if the driver doesn't stop at a red light and speeds into a crosswalk, anyone who gets hit was struck due to the breach of duty shown by the driver and then suffers because of it.

Your attorney can help you as someone representing a loved one who has passed. You are able to make a claim for a person's wrongful death as long as you can prove the four necessary elements exist.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault: What is Negligence?," accessed Dec. 22, 2015

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