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Definition of Negligence

Negligence, as it applies to personal injury law, is conduct which is below the standard of care established by law which protects individuals against the unreasonable risk of harm. To win a personal injury case the plaintiff must prove four elements: (1) The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care; (2) The defendant breached that duty; (3) The defendant?s breach of his or her duty of care caused the plaintiff?s injury or loss; (4) The plaintiff suffered injury or loss.

Negligence claims are civil, not criminal cases, which allow the plaintiff (the injured) to sue the defendant for injury. If the plaintiff wins their case they generally receive compensation through an injury award which is used to restore the plaintiff to their original state. Common types of negligence claims include premise liability cases, medical malpractice cases, car accident claims, trucking accidents, product liability claims and contract disputes. Compensation for negligence claims can be won even if the defendant is not charged with a crime or if they face criminal prosecution but are found not guilty.

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