Skip to Content

How Do You Prove Negligence in Court?


When you’re involved in a car accident, it may seem obvious whose fault it was. However, even if someone else was responsible, that doesn’t mean that they can be held liable for it. Certain things have to be proven in order for a person to be considered negligent in civil court. This applies not just to car accidents but to other types of personal injury cases as well.

The first question is whether the defendant breached a legal duty of care that he or she owed to the plaintiff. For example, a person is expected to drive safely. The standard for whether a person breached that duty is what a reasonably prudent person would do in a situation.

It’s also necessary to show that a defendant could have reasonably foreseen that his or her breach of duty would cause injury. That brings us to the element of causation. A person could have breached a duty of care, but for a successful negligence claim, a plaintiff needs to show that the breach was responsible for his or her injuries.

When bringing a negligence claim, a plaintiff needs to show some type of damages. With a car accident, this generally involves the cost of medical treatment, lost wages and damage to the vehicle. Other, less-easily quantifiable damages can include pain and suffering.

An experienced Los Angeles attorney can work to prove that all of the elements of a negligence claim exist. He or she will also help determine the amount of damages that can be sought and work to convince a judge and/or jury that the defendant should be held legally responsible for paying those damages.

Source: FindLaw, “Proving Fault: What is Negligence?,” accessed Feb. 05, 2016