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What Are the Four Elements of Negligence?

 Posted on May 28, 2024 in Personal Injury

Peoria, IL personal injury lawyerWhen a person suffers a personal injury because of someone else, the injured party often wants compensation for damages that were caused. In many cases, this requires the victim to prove that the other party was negligent. Negligence means that the person who caused the injury did not take reasonable care to avoid causing damage.

Proving negligence can be a difficult task. If you are seeking compensation for damages, your Illinois personal injury attorney will need to prove the four elements of negligence:

  • Duty

  • Breach

  • Causation

  • Damages

This article will discuss the four elements of negligence and how they apply to personal injuries.

Duty of Care

The first element of negligence is showing that there was a duty of care. You need to prove that the defendant — the person who caused the injury — had a responsibility to take a certain amount of care to avoid the injury.

A driver, for instance, has a duty to drive safely and take reasonable care not to injure other people. As another example, if you are visiting someone else’s house, the owner has a duty of care to make sure his or her property does not injure you.

Breach of Duty

Once you have proven that there was a duty of care, you need to show that the defendant was in breach of that duty. If he or she did or did not take a certain action that a reasonable person would have taken to avoid injuring others, then he or she has violated the duty of care and was negligent.

In the example of visiting someone else’s house, the homeowner would be in breach of duty if the dog was uncontained, the dog bit you, and the dog was known to be aggressive.


Next, you need to show that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injury. This is easy to prove in cases involving injuries like dog bites or car accidents. But in other cases, such as those involving medical malpractice, it can be more difficult to show that an injury was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.


Finally, you need to show that your injury caused you damages that are deserving of compensation. For example, if you received a mild scratch from a protruding nail in someone’s house and did not require any medical treatment, there are no damages that need to be recovered. If, however, you were punctured by a rusty nail in someone’s house and it led to a severe infection, you may be able to receive compensation for damages.

Contact a Bloomington, IL Personal Injury Lawyer

Proving the four elements of negligence requires gathering evidence and building a strong case. That is why a claim for damages should be brought by a qualified Peoria, Illinois personal injury attorney. Bring your case to Kanoski Bresney to have the best chance at receiving compensation for your injury. Our experienced attorneys will get to work building your case and proving negligence. Call 888-826-8682 for a free consultation today. 

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