To be successful in any lawsuit, you generally must have a case which fits some valid, applicable “cause of action.” Examples of recognized causes of action include fraud, breach of contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and negligence. One of more commonly litigated claims is negligence.
In order to prevail at trial on a negligence claim, or to have a good chance of reaching a settlement, you must be able to establish that the following four elements are present in your case:
(a) The Defendant owed you a duty;
(b) The Defendant breached that duty; and
(c) The Defendant’s breach of that duty proximately caused you to suffer (d) damages.
The Raleigh negligence attorneys of Maginnis Howard have years of experience in litigating negligence lawsuits on behalf of a variety of clients. Some of our more common negligence clients include persons sustaining personal injury in automobile accidents, tenants suffering from sickness due to exposure to toxic mold, and homeowners who have incurred financial loss as a result of contractor’s negligence.
To determine whether you may have a valid negligence claim, it may be helpful to see how the elements are applied to a sample case. Assume, for example, that a drunk-driver rear-ends your vehicle when properly stopped at a red light. In that scenario, each of the elements of negligence would be present because:
(a) The Defendant owed you a duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner and not to cause injury;
(b) The Defendant breached that duty by striking your vehicle with his while under the influence of alcohol;
(c) The Defendant’s breach proximately caused you (d) damages.
One common question we field from new clients is what damages are recoverable in a negligence suit. This typically depends upon the individual facts of each case, but the general goal is to place to the Plaintiff back in the position they would have been had the Defendant not acted negligently. Examples of damages recoverable are medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, value of property damaged, etc. If the Defendant was guilty of gross negligence, the jury may award punitive damages.
The Raleigh civil litigation lawyers of Maginnis Law offer free telephone of office consultations to all potential new clients. You may reach one of our lawyers directly at 919.480.8526 or by email using our contact page. Maginnis Howard handles cases across the state of North Carolina.