Personal Injury Law

Chicago Personal Injury Law: How To Establish Negligence

When you or a loved one has suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to sue for compensation of the damages caused through a personal injury lawsuit. You are entitled to compensation because the accident could have been prevented if the negligent party had acted reasonably. A successful negligence claim provides monetary and non-monetary recovery for the victim and punishes the negligent party for their behavior.

Negligence is when an individual acts carelessly or recklessly, falling below the reasonable standard of care. A reasonable standard of care refers to how another individual in the same position would act under similar circumstances. 

Types of negligence

There are two types of negligence: ordinary and gross. Ordinary negligence is when an individual doesn’t take reasonable precautions leading to the injury of another person(s), for instance, when a driver fails to stop at a stop sign leading to an accident.

Gross negligence goes further than carelessness. It is the extreme disregard for the safety of others, for instance, when a driver drinks and drives, causing a road accident. Gross negligence lawsuits often result in punitive damages meant to punish the defendant for their behavior.

Establishing negligence

You must prove several things to determine negligence, including duty, breach of duty, cause, and harm.


For you to prove a negligence case, the defendant must have a duty of care to the victim. For instance, a driver must act reasonably while on the road by following traffic rules to keep other road users safe. In some cases, a relationship between the defendant and the victim may result in duty. For instance, doctors must act within a certain standard of care towards their patients. Teachers and parents must keep their children and students safe. A claimant can only receive compensation if the defendant owed them a duty of care.

Breach of duty

After establishing a duty of care, you must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. For instance, in a medical malpractice claim, the doctor may have failed to conduct the necessary tests to determine or diagnose a condition faster. In a slip and fall accident, a business owner may have failed to clean a spill that a customer fell in.


The defendant’s negligence must have directly and proximately caused the victim’s injury. This is to say the victim would not have suffered the injury had the defendant acted reasonably. For instance, if a driver had been sober, they would not have caused a fatal accident.


The final aspect of establishing negligence is damage. According to a Chicago personal injury attorney, the claimant must show how they have suffered due to the accident. It may have resulted in a physical injury or property damage. Medical bills, records, and reports may form the basis for the claim. Negligence claims also allow plaintiffs to recover non-economical damages such as emotional stress and trauma suffered following the accident.

In conclusion

When it comes to negligence lawsuits, the claimant must establish the four aspects of negligence to recover the damage. With such complexities, it is advisable to engage a personal injury attorney to present the grounds for a successful case.

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