You may have a personal injury claim if you suffered a mental or physical injury as a result of someone’s harmful act or negligence. For example, defective products, car crashes, home accidents and failure to treat or diagnose a medical condition are all types of personal injury cases.

As a victim of an accident, you need to meet the four parts of a personal injury claim for you to have a valid lawsuit.

Duty

A legal duty of care means that the defendant had to act in a certain manner towards you. Essentially, because of your relationship the person needed to act with reasonable care so you did not become physically or mentally injured.

Breach of duty

The negligent party must have breached his or her duty to you in order to have a personal injury claim. You sustained injuries because this person failed to exercise reasonable care in your presence.

Causation

Sometimes it is not exactly clear how you got hurt, so the court uses causation to evaluate whether the defendant’s actions harmed you. The first type of causation looks at if not for the defendant’s actions, you would not have injuries.

The second type of causation, proximate cause, states that the defendant is only responsible for the injuries that he or she could foresee through his or her actions.

Damages

The amount of financial loss you suffered amounts to your damages in a personal injury lawsuit. The calculation of these damages typically include lost wages, the cost to fix damaged property, medical expenses to treat injuries and sometimes even lost future wages.

Although figuring out if you have a viable case is a complicated assessment best done with the help of counsel, knowing the four elements of a negligence lawsuit is beneficial.