Negligence is a fundamental legal topic and is often a major part of personal injury claims. While this post is intended to provide readers with a general understanding of what must be proven to prevail on a claim of negligence, it is important that readers understand that this post offers no legal advice. In order to understand if a reader has a viable claim of negligence, it can help to contact an Illinois attorney who works in the personal injury field of law.

The first element in a claim of negligence is the presence of a duty. While some relationships (doctor-patient, priest-penitent) have recognized duties between them, others are not as clear. However, in general individuals have a duty to act reasonably given their circumstances. For example, when driving a car a person has a duty to obey traffic laws and to conduct themselves responsibly to avoid injuring others.

The second element of a negligence claim is a breach of the established duty. If a driver speeds and crashes into another person, their actions may be shown to have breached their duty of care. Their actions must also be the actual and proximate cause of the injured party’s losses, with these two forms of causation representing the third and fourth elements in a claim of negligence.

Finally, in order to successfully plead negligence a victim must show that they suffered damages, the fifth element of the claim. Damages compensate victims for their losses and help them become whole. When these five elements are present victims of personal injury accidents may have strong claims for the recovery of their losses and the stability of their futures.