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Elements of a Personal Injury Case

Colorado civil law allows those who have suffered injury by the negligent and wrongful actions of another party to bring forth a personal injury case for damages. Personal injury cases are filed to recover damages in the form of financial compensation, including damages for medical bills, lost earnings, as well as pain and suffering.

However, to file a successful lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish four distinct facts about the case. These four facts are commonly known as the elements of tort. The absence of one or more of these elements will likely result in complete dismissal of a lawsuit.

The following are the four main elements of a personal injury case:

  • The duty of care – The first element of a personal injury lawsuit is the existence of a duty of care. The duty of care is defined as the moral and the legal obligation that one party owes to another in order to protect safety and wellbeing. The duty of care varies depending on the type of accident and the parties involved. In the case of a car accident, for example, this duty is to drive with reasonable care. If it involves a slip and fall accident, it often applies to business owners or homeowners with private property.
  • Breach of the duty of care – The second element is showing a breach in exercising reasonable care, creating the potential for blame to be placed upon the defendant. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have exercised, or violated a law or statute. Common examples of a breach of duty include drunk driving or failing to place a warning sign over a store aisle spill that was there for several hours.
  • Causation – The third element is showing a causal link between the defendant’s negligent actions and the plaintiff’s injury. In other words, the plaintiff must prove that it is “more likely than not” that their injuries were caused by the actions of the defendant.
  • Damages – The final element is proving damages, or losses, in order to recover compensation for the harm that they suffered. If someone isn’t injured and suffered no damages, there isn’t a valid personal injury claim. Common types of damages include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

If you have been injured by a negligent party in Colorado, request a free consultation with our Denver personal injury lawyers at Gerash Steiner, P.C. today.