Negligence occurrs when each of the following elements are present: (i) there is a duty (duty), (ii) the duty is breached (breach), (iii) the breaching of that duty caused the accident (causation), and (iv) damages. In order to prove a prima facie case of negligence all four elements of negligence must be present and be proved.
For example, when there is a car accident, in order to prover liability, it is necessary to show that one of the driver's had a duty not to control his or her vehicle to avoid colliding. That is an easy element to prove. If that particular driver rear-ended another vehicle, there would have been a breach of that duty. It is necessary to show that the breach caused the accident (in the case of a rear-end accident, that is fairly easy to do). You may ask yourself "but for the actions of the first driver, the accident wouldn't have occurred?" And finally, damages are required. If there was no damage to the vehicle or person or people inside the front vehicle, there is no case for negligence.
The elements of a negligence case are taught to law students in their first year of law school. However, some lawyers who accept negligence cases on behalf of injured clients, have no or minimal experience handling such claims. It's imperative that you call to discuss your case with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia attorney Roger Gelb and his firm have represented over 10,000 clients and have recovered in excess of $100,000,000.00 (one hundred millions dollars) since its founding in 1954. Contact us today for a free consultation.