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What are the basic elements of a negligence claim in Tennessee?

Many Tennesseans who have been injured in a car accident want to take swift legal action against those who harmed them. This is understandable, but successfully pursuing a personal injury lawsuit takes preparation. Failing to adequately prepare a claim could lead to critical evidence being missed or disallowed from being used, faulty evidence being admitted against a plaintiff and a failure to meet all of the elements of a claim.

The first step in preparing a claim is to know the elements that must be proven. In a personal injury lawsuit, a victim must prove that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that duty was breached, that breach both actually and proximately caused the victim's injuries and damages were suffered. Each of these elements must be proven before liability can be imposed and compensation can be awarded, so it is critical to know how to utilize the law and evidence at end in order to prove each one.

Typically speaking, motorists owe all other motorists a duty of reasonable care. This means that they should obey traffic laws and refrain from driving in a way that is dangerous. Those who are found to have been speeding, texting and driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will likely be found to have breached that duty. Next, when it comes to causation, a victim must ask whether his or her injuries would have occurred but for the defendant's actions and whether the harm was foreseeable.

Last, damages must have been suffered. This is proven by showing a judge and jury that medical expenses were incurred, wages were lost and pain and suffering existed. Those who wish to learn more about how these elements break down and how to adequately prove them should consider seeking out legal assistance, as this post does not provide legal advice and cannot serve as the basis for any legal claim.

Source: FindLaw, "Elements of a Negligence Case," accessed on Oct. 7, 2016

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