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What does negligence mean?

The law of negligence requires people to behave in a manner that conforms to specific standards of conduct. Where a person's actions violate those standards, the law requires the person to compensate anyone who is injured as a result. In some instances, the law of negligence also covers a person's omission to act.

In tort law, which includes all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm, negligence is defined as "conduct that falls below the standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm."

The elements of negligence

In a successful negligence claim, the injured person, called the plaintiff, must show that each of the following factors, or elements, was present:

(1) a duty of care owed by the defendant to the plaintiff;

(2) a breach of that duty;

(3) an actual causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the resulting harm;

(4) proximate cause, which relates to whether the harm was foreseeable;

(5) damages resulting from the defendant's conduct.

Duty can arise from all types of circumstances. For example, a driver owes a duty to other motorists to drive safely, maintain control of the vehicle, and observe the rules of the road. By running a stop sign, the driver breaches that duty. If someone was injured as a result, the injured party could argue that the breach was both the cause in fact and proximate cause of the injuries.

Have you been injured due to negligence?

The outcomes of personal injury cases depend on various factors, but having the help of a good injury attorney can make the biggest difference. Even if the facts are on your side, it takes the expertise of a lawyer to properly present your case and file the necessary processes. If you want information and feedback on a potential personal injury claim, you can have an attorney review your claim at no initial cost or obligation.

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Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, TX

What Contributes to Texas Crashes?

As is true with all states, Texas roadways can be very dangerous places. According to a May 2014report from the Texas Department of Transportation[1], statewide crashes in 2013 totaled more than 115,000 just from those drivers who were did not control the speed of their vehicles. Learn more here about common factors in Texas car crashes...

Atlanta, GA

MADD DUI Symposium helps victims of drunk drivers

Recently, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers held their first-ever DUI Symposium in Atlanta. The symposium was developed to offer support for DUI victims and crash survivor families. The invited speakers discussed a range of topics including victim compensation, the Memorial Sign Program, prosecution, and prevention. Learn more here about the symposium.

Little Rock-Pine Bluff, AR

Monkey See, Monkey Do: Teens and Speeding

The good news is that parents remain the strongest influence in the lives of their young people. When parents refrain from speeding, aggressive driving, and other behaviors that cause car accidents to happen, their young people are likely to follow suit. Read more here about how setting a good example has immediate safety benefits on teen drivers.

Laredo, TX

How Modified Comparative Negligence Can Affect Your Texas Claim

When an injured party is making a claim against another party, the Court will sometimes apportion some fault to the injured claimant for the event that led to the injury. If it is determined there is shared or apportioned liability, the Court will allocate a percentage of fault to every party involved, including the injured party. Read more here about this important issue related to Texas car accident claims.

Las Vegas, NV

How to Tell Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

A crucial part of running a car accident case in Las Vegas involves figuring out who is responsible for the wreck. The process ofdetermining fault in a car accident entails numerous steps. This is crucial, as Nevada is not a state that uses a no-fault policy for insurance claims, meaning that someone will be charged with fault in some way.

Mobile, AL-Pensacola, FL

Guardrail dangers

All across the United States, there currently exists a potentially defective end cap installed on guardrails (called the guardrail terminal) – this is an endcap called the “ET-Plus” manufactured by Trinity Industries. This end cap does not collapse when a car impacts it, but rather has the potential to cut the car into pieces and the rails have speared through the driver or passenger-side doors, into seats and through the vehicle floors.

Corpus Christi, TX

How Everyday Negligence Causes Car Accidents Everyday

But if the leading cause of car accidents is the people controlling the car, every effort to stop their dangerous behavior is an uphill battle. All the regulations and training in the world cannot guarantee that someone will put down their cellphones and focus on driving. Read more here about the latest information on the causes of car accidents, and about what to do if you are injured in one.

Everett-Bellingham WA

This one device can help keep drunk drivers from doing further harm

About the size of a cell phone, an ignition interlock device is wired into the ignition system of a drunk driver's car. To go anywhere, the driver must blow into the device and register no alcohol on his or her breath. If there's a measurable amount, the car will not start. Does this device work? Yes, and here's how

Everett-Bellingham WA

A staggering number of people are on their cell phones while driving at any given moment

660,000. Recent statistics show that's how many people are on their phones while driving at any given moment. Not only is this becoming increasingly illegal by state law, it also means that a texting driver is 25 times more likely to get in an accident. Click here to learn more staggering statistics on distracted driving from Bellingham, WA lawyer Bill Coats. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

Want to avoid a DUI? Try these tips

There are the old-fashioned methods of crashing on a friend's couch, or designating a sober driver. Modern technology such as apps for our ubiquitous smart phones is another way to make sure no one gets behind the wheel while drunk. Bellingham lawyer Bill Coats of Bill Coats Law works for the victims of drunk drivers on Washington roads and has a few ways we can all drive safer. For tips on avoiding a DUI, click here. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

What if the negligent driver hit you and doesn't have insurance? You have options.

It's  yet another shock after someone crashes into you to learn that they don't have insurance at all, or not enough to pay for your losses. Yet about a quarter of drivers on Washington State roads don't carry insurance at all, even though it is a state law that they must. But this doesn't mean that you are stuck with the bills for an accident that wasn't even your fault. Click here to learn what to do when the negligent driver doesn't have insurance.