For most preventable accidents that result in serious injuries, the victim is permitted to file a personal injury claim against the at fault party to recover compensation for harm suffered. However, filing a successful claim that yields damages requires proving four essential elements – if the four elements cannot be proven, it is unlikely that compensation will be awarded. If you are the victim of an accident in Roscoe, Cherry Valley, Rockford, or anywhere else in Illinois, here is a look into the four elements of a personal injury claim that you must establish to recover compensation:
1. Presence of a Duty of Care
The first element of a personal injury claim is establishing that there was the presence of a duty of care between you and the defendant against whom you are filing a claim. This means that the defendant owed you a certain duty – i.e., if you were an invitee on the defendant’s property, then s/he owed you the right to a property free of hazards. Or, if you were the victim of a car accident, the driver of the vehicle who hit you had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a reasonably safe manner. In many cases, duty of care is implied.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
The second component of a personal injury claim is proving that a breach of the duty of care owed to you occurred. For example, a property owner failed to remove snow or ice, the driver of a vehicle drove drunk, a manufacturer manufactured a defective product, etc. Proving a breach of the duty of care is also known as establishing the negligence of the defendant, or the failure to demonstrate the level of care that a person of ordinary prudence would display in a similar circumstance.
Causation is the fourth element of a personal injury claim, and asserts that the breach of the duty of care (negligence) was the direct cause of your accident. Consider the following example: An automaker manufactures a car with a design defect, making the vehicle prone to rollover accidents. Further, the manufacturer distributes the care despite known risks, and fails to issue a recall of the vehicle in a timely manner. As a result, an individual is involved in a rollover accident, and suffers serious injuries. Proving causation in this example would involve demonstrating that the rollover accident would not have occurred had the automaker manufacturer a vehicle that was defect-free, corrected the defect prior to distribution, or/and recalled the vehicle as soon as the defect was discovered.
The fourth and final element of a personal injury claim is proving that damages, or harms, were actually incurred. Medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, disfigurement, etc. are all types of damages that a victim may sustain when involved in an accident.
Our Attorney Are Ready to Advocate for You
If you have been injured in Illinois, the experienced Rockford personal injury lawyers at Fisk & Monteleone LTD. can guide you through everything you need to know about the four elements of personal injury claims, and the importance of proving each element in order to recover the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free case consultation, call our offices now at 815-209-9030.