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A closer look at the legal theory of negligence

Illinois residents who are involved in a car accident may have many challenges ahead of them. First, they might have to find a way to cope with physical pain and suffering that results from the wreck. Second, they will likely have to find a way to pay for the medical care they received post-accident. Third, their injuries may leave them incapable of working for a period of time, causing them to lose income and struggle to find a way to make ends meet.

If the accident was caused by a negligent driver, a victim may be able to recover compensation via a personal injury lawsuit. But, in order to succeed on such a claim, a victim must prove the elements of negligence. So, what are they? In order to win a negligence lawsuit, an individual must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care, that the duty was breached, the breach caused the accident and the victim's injuries and that the victim suffered damages as a result of the breach of duty. Failing to prove any of these elements could lead to an inability to recover compensation.

With this in mind, it is critical that those who have been harmed in a car crash adequately prepare their claim before going to court. Evidence, including police reports, medical records and proof of lost income, must be gathered and witnesses must be questioned. Developing a legal strategy and strong legal arguments based on the law and the facts surrounding the situation are critical to a victim's chances of succeeding on a claim.

Although proving negligence may sound simple enough, the process is often quite complicated. Comparative negligence could affect an individual's recovery amount or may deny recovery altogether. Multiple defenses may also be available to those accused of negligence, which could throw a claim into jeopardy.

Source: FindLaw, "Illinois Negligence Laws," accessed on Feb. 27, 2016

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