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What Is Negligence?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Personal injury lawsuits grow from the perspective that someone, or some entity, was negligent in their duty of care toward others. 

Negligence is the kingpin in almost all California personal injury claims. As such, California personal injury attorneys must establish and assign negligence to an at-fault party before proceeding with a personal injury claim. 

So, what is negligence under California law?

Negligence in California 

In California, there exists a duty of care among people to reasonably avoid causing harm and injury to another’s property or person.

A person or entity failing to meet a duty of care is negligent and may be held liable for financial damages through a personal injury claim. 

5 Elements that Establish Negligence 

California law supports compensation to victims of negligence through personal injury lawsuits. However, a victim’s claim must meet five specific criteria to establish another’s negligence and hold them liable for damages.

  • Duty of Care is the legal term that defines a person’s obligation to refrain from acting in a manner that causes harm or injury to another’s property or person. 
  • Breach of Duty is established after it can be proven that Duty of Care existed and that a person or entity failed in taking reasonable measures to preserve that standard of care.
  • Causation is the link between breach of duty and the injury of another person. California law requires that the negligent party’s conduct be proven by a preponderance of evidence to have directly resulted or substantially influenced the victim’s injury.
  • Proximate Cause establishes that there existed foreseeable consequences to the defendant’s actions without another’s intervention.
  • Damages are the injured person’s losses resulting from the injury accident. The damages incurred must be directly related to the injury or suffering resulting from the negligent party’s actions.

With these criteria met, the court will generally uphold a claim for damages and award compensation to the injured party. 

A qualified personal injury attorney will argue for economic and non-economic compensation in amounts commensurate with the severity of your injuries. 

Comparative Negligence 

California is a comparative negligence state, meaning that at-fault parties are liable for damages only to the extent that their negligence harmed the victim. 

In California personal injury cases, the extent of negligence owned by the involved parties must be determined. Multiple parties may share equal or unequal negligence. 

Injury victims can also be found negligent if their actions contributed to the accident. Even in cases where victims are determined to be 99% negligent for the accident, they are still entitled to receive compensation for their injuries. 

Can A California Personal Injury Attorney Help Me?

If you have been involved in an injury accident, whether a slip and fall, defective product, or car accident, it’s a good idea to talk to a personal injury lawyer.

After an accident, you will likely be upset and confused. It is a time of overwhelm about what to do next, how to pay mounting medical bills, and how to survive financially in the face of lost wages. A personal injury lawyer can help.

California personal injury laws allow Californians to pursue monetary compensation after an injury accident. However, there is a statute of limitations governing your time to file a personal injury claim and the process is tricky to navigate. 

Rely on an experienced California personal injury attorney to assess your claim and advise you on how to best proceed. While you focus on healing and recovery, your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident and work to protect your rights to compensation. 

Contact our law firm today for more information about negligence and personal injury lawsuits in California. 

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.