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Negligence cases can be complex and often subjective, depending upon the circumstances and the number of people involved.
Defenses to Negligence
An attorney experienced in negligence issues understands the various technical components of negligence and its defenses. These include:
- The “reasonable person” standard – The reasonable person standard means conducting one’s self in a manner consistent with what actions a “reasonable person” would take in similar circumstances.
- Duty of care – The law requires people to act with a duty of care toward others and the public, meaning that people exercise the attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person would. Failing to do so can result in negligence and lead to a lawsuit claiming damages.
- Assumption of risk – If a person acts knowing a risk is involved, that person assumes the risk and gives up any claim of negligence. It is generally assumed that individuals living in a society or community have a duty to act toward one another with reasonable care for each other’s physical safety and the safety of property. When we do act, we assume the risk of injury and generally give up any claim of negligence.
- Comparative negligence – Negligence can be shared, meaning opposing parties acted with various degrees of negligence.
- 50 percent rule – A person who wants to sue for negligence cannot sue if his or her negligence was 50 percent or more than that of the other person.
- Proximate cause – Proximate cause occurs if one incident causes another.
An Attorney Is Essential in Any Negligence Case
The person suing for negligence, has the burden of proof in all of these areas, and that requires the advice of an attorney practicing in this area of law. The attorney can assess the facts, apply them to the areas of negligence that apply, anticipate the arguments likely to be made by the opposition and form responses to them.
An attorney also can develop and present evidence, and motion to have the opposition’s evidence ruled inadmissible so it cannot be used in the case, and work to arrange a settlement that is advantageous to his client. A settlement saves the expenses associated with going to trial.