Determining negligence in West Virginia is not always easy. Just because an accident happened and an individual was injured does not automatically mean that it was the result of negligence. Sometimes accidents just happen.
This is why you may want to work with an experienced Clarksburg personal injury attorney who can explain how the elements of negligence relate to your case and what you'll need to do to prove that negligence in your West Virginia personal injury claim.
Elements of Negligence in West Virginia
In order to file a West Virginia personal injury claim, you'll need to prove each of the following elements of negligence, including:
- Duty - in order to establish negligence, it must be demonstrated that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to show reasonable care (with regards to their safety).
- Breach of duty - it must also be shown that there was a breach of that duty, which occurs when there is a failure to exercise reasonable care.
- Cause in fact - the cause of the plaintiff's injuries must be directly related to the breach of duty or the defendant's failure to act in a reasonable manner.
- Proximate cause - a defendant must have been able to foresee that their actions could result in harm to the plaintiff.
- Injuries and damages - you'll also need to prove that you were injured and prove the extent of those injuries and the extent of any property damage you claim.
An example of how negligence can cause an accident can be illustrated in the case of a child who is struck by a car while riding their bike. The driver may believe it was just an accident but in order for the child's parent to file a claim and recover damages to help with their child's recovery, they'll need to prove each of the elements of negligence listed above.
If a child was bicycling down the street, the driver would have an obligation, or duty, to exercise caution. Let's say that in this example the driver was texting on their cell phone and swerved the car, which struck the child on the bicycle. In this case the distracted driver breached their duty by texting while driving, which caused them to operate the vehicle in an unsafe manner.
If the child was perfectly healthy before the accident but had a broken leg immediately after the accident, you could then prove the direct link between the driver's actions and the child's injury. You may also be able to establish proximate cause as the driver should have been able to foresee that texting on their cell phone would distract them from paying attention to the road.
Injuries from a serious accident that were result of someone else's negligence in West Virginia may entitle you to file a personal injury claim. Contact a Clarksburg personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case to determine if negligence was the direct cause of your injuries.
Contacting a Clarksburg Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Clarksburg car accident, order a complimentary copy of our consumer guide, The 7 Biggest Mistakes that Can Wreck Your West Virginia Car Accident Claim then contact the Clarksburg personal injury attorneys at The Miley Legal Group for a no-cost consultation - 304-326-1800.