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Personal injury cases involve proving the elements of negligence

Having a car accident while on the road is no one's idea of fun. Of course, these incidents happen every day and have numerous causes. In some cases, the outcomes may be nothing more than a slight fender-bender, but in others, individuals could suffer serious injuries or lose lives.

If you recently suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by another person, you may be considering your available options for seeking compensation and justice. While filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim may be viable for your case, you will have a lot of work ahead of you to prove your claim.

Proving negligence

Though legal claims regarding negligence can be beneficial to victims if they prove successful, these cases can take a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as simply telling the court that another person's negligence resulted in your injuries or your loved one's death. You hold the burden of proving your claim and meeting the elements that show negligence.

The four elements necessary when attempting to prove another person's negligence include the following:

  • Duty: You must prove that the person owed you a legal duty of care. In your case, you may prove that the driver should have operated his or her vehicle with a particular level of care.
  • Breach of duty: After establishing that the driver owed you a duty of care, you must prove that he or she breached that duty. Evidence that the driver did or did not do something that another reasonably prudent driver would or would not have done could support this claim.
  • Causation: The third element to prove involves showing the court that the driver's actions and negligence directly caused your injuries.
  • Damages: Lastly, you will need to prove to the court that the driver's negligence caused damages for which you could receive compensation.

You may think that your injuries and the police report indicating that the other driver was at fault for the incident should be enough. However, legal cases are rarely so straightforward. Therefore, you may want to make sure that you understand personal injury or wrongful death claims, how the circumstances of your event may apply and what evidence may help you move forward with a case. An experienced South Dakota attorney may be able to assist you with all aspects of this type of legal endeavor.

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