The Elements of Negligence

If you have suffered a personal injury that was caused by another person’s negligence or intentional actions, this person could be held responsible for your injury or damages.

The 4 basic elements of negligence that you and your attorney must establish to pursue a legal claim are detailed below:

1. Duty: A duty is a simple legal obligation. In order to be sued for negligence, the defendant must have owed a legal duty to the Plaintiff. A duty can arise in various forms and through numerous interactions; however, duty can simply be defined as engaging in conduct in a given set of circumstances commiserate with the actions of a reasonably prudent person in the position. For example, swinging a bat in a crowded room is not something a reasonably prudent person would do, and as a result, we have a duty not to engage in such behavior.

2. Breach: A breach is a violation of law or duty. The Defendant must breach his legal duty by acting or failing to act in order to be held liable for negligence. Breach could be summed up as the failure to act in accordance with generally accepted norms and conversely to how a reasonably prudent person would act.

3. Cause or Causation: The breach of duty by the defendant’s action or inaction must have caused damages, harm or injury to the Plaintiff. You and your attorney must prove that there was a reasonable expectation that the defendant was able to foresee that their actions might cause harm or damages.

Causation comes in two forms – legal and “but for”.  Legal causation is also known as proximate cause and requires your attorney to show that the action of the defendant was the actual or legal cause of the harm you suffered.  The “but for” standard of causation requires your attorney to show that “but for” the defendants action, you would not have been harmed. Ultimately, a skilled attorney must connect the breach of duty by a defendant to the actual harm you suffered.

4. Damages or Harm: To receive compensation for your negligence claim, the Plaintiff must have suffered harm, damages or injury as a result of the Defendant’s actions or inaction in order to sue for negligence.  Damages can come in several forms. Please see our post on Types of Damages for an in-depth description.  

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, schedule a free consultation with the attorneys of Sanders Law Firm to discuss your options. A potential legal claim may be worth pursuing, especially if you have medical bills and/or missed work due to the injury. Our attorneys can answer all of your questions about filing a personal injury claim in Colorado.

The information on this website is intended to be general information only and not legal advice. Laws change frequently and the information on this website may not be up to date, nor is the information intended to be fully comprehensive. The information is general in nature and each case should be analyzed by a legal professional on an individual bases.  The information on this page does not create an attorney client relationship.  No relationship should be implied by reading the general information contained on this page or this website.  For legal advice specific to your case please contact Sanders Law Firm or another licensed attorney.

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