Negligence Attorney Alexandria VA
Everyone has heard of negligence, however, even some lawyers don’t seem to understand what it means. Many people think that negligence is finding a hair in your cereal, however, it is much more complex than that. Negligence is a cause of action which essentially says someone didn’t do something the way they should have and someone else was hurt. It is very common in courts in Virginia as the courts do not require negligence to be specifically plead. Rather, an accusation of negligence is enough to get a trial. That’s why if you are thinking of suing someone for negligence or being sued for negligence, it helps to understand its complexity. If you believe you would like to sue someone for negligence or are being sued for negligence please find a Civil Law Attorney who can help you if you live near Fairfax, Loudoun, and Arlington and Prince William counties.
What is Negligence
What a negligence claim actually says is that someone had a duty created by law or common law, that they breached that duty by doing something or not doing something that a reasonable person in the same situation would not do or would do, that that persons breach of duty was both the actual cause and the “But For” cause of your damages, and that you were damaged. That sounds very complicated but it is only four elements: duty, breach, causation and harm.
Your duty to an average person is almost nothing. As you leave your house on a daily basis, you take on duties. For example, the duty to drive with reasonable care, the duty to preform your job the way a reasonable person with that job would, and the duty to maintain your pets in a reasonable manner. Your duties are constantly compared to other people and what a reasonable person would do in that situation.
A breach of duty is not doing what a reasonable person would do in your situation such as drive on the wrong side of the road, remove the wrong tooth, or let your pet destroy your neighbor’s flowers. In the event you do or do not do something that a reasonable person would do, you technically have breached your duty. This doesn’t mean you have committed negligence however; it is only negligence if you harm someone with your unreasonable actions.
In order to have committed negligence and be sued for it, your actions would have to directly cause someone’s damages. What this means is essentially that your breached caused their damage and had you not breached; they wouldn’t have been damaged. Examples of causation would be if you’re driving on the wrong side of the road and crashed into someone causing their car’s damage. Had you not driven on the wrong side of the road, you would not have damaged their car. An example of causation not being met is if your pet tears up your neighbor’s garden and they have aneurism after seeing it. It is likely that the aneurism would have occurred regardless of your actions and so they cannot say that they wouldn’t have had an aneurism but for your actions.
Finally, there is harm which is the hardest concept for most people to understand. Harm is the economic cost of your actions. It has to be actual and quantifiable. For instance, finding a hair in your cereal only gets you the damages of one box of cereal. You cannot sue a cereal manufacturer for being “Gross-out” or “Losing your appetite.” Furthermore, you can’t sue them for the emotional damage they caused or the loss of trust you now have in cereal. However, you can quantify these damages later on. For example, let’s say your dentist pulls out the wrong tooth but replaces it good as new, therefore eliminating all damages that they may have caused you. However, now you distrust dentists as a whole. You could go to therapy to get over your fear and then sue the dentist for the cost of therapy.
If you have experienced negligence, contact us at the Mughal Law Firm to give you the best legal advice in Alexandria, Va.