personal injury accident

Car crashes, slip-and-fall accidents, and other injury incidents all share one thing in common. If you are going to obtain payment from another party for your losses and expenses, you will need to prove that person was negligent. No matter how seriously you have been hurt or how extensive your financial losses are, if you cannot show the other party was negligent, then you will not recover any compensation. 

But what exactly is negligence, and how can you tell if someone has been negligent in their dealings with you? The answer is not always clear. Many personal injury lawyers will describe “negligence” as “carelessness,” but this simply defines one ambiguous term with another. Protecting your legal right to recover damages after an accident depends on you taking prompt action, and you can only do this confidently if you know there has been negligent conduct.

Three Things to Keep in Mind About Negligence

In 1964, then-Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart declared that his test for what constituted obscenity was simple: “I know it when I see it.” This unhelpful definition is, unfortunately, the way some people feel about negligence. They are not able to define the term, but believe that they can recognize it when confronted with it. 

The term negligence does not need to be so vague and difficult to understand. Someone is negligent when they do something that a reasonable person would not do if faced with the same situation. This simple definition means that negligence:

Takes the Situation into Account

First, in deciding whether someone is negligent, attention needs to be paid to the specific circumstances of your injury. Someone who exceeds the speed limit is usually considered negligent because a reasonable person would not break the law. But it may be equally negligent for someone to travel 60 miles per hour when all surrounding traffic is traveling at 70 miles per hour.

Takes the Party’s Circumstances into Account

The concept of negligence is also sensitive to the other party’s age, mental conditions, physical impairments, and other personal characteristics into account. For instance, negligence does not ask, “Would a reasonable person do this,” but rather, “Would a reasonable 50-year-old male with poor eyesight do this?”

Does Not Take Personal Feelings into Account

Negligence is an objective, not subjective, concept. This means that one’s personal feelings are irrelevant in determining whether they acted negligently. A person can be found to have acted negligently even if they do not feel their actions were careless.

Speaking with a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Can Dispel Confusion

Of course, the best way to know if the other person involved in your accident was negligent is to speak with a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer from Wegmann Law. We know negligence when we see it and, more importantly, we know what to do about it, too. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to hold negligent individuals accountable for their actions.
Contact our Hillsboro office at (636) 797-2665 or use our online form to get in touch with us and set up your case consultation today.