We hear this term and about this concept a lot, but what does it really
mean? In Virginia, in order to prove another person was "negligent,"
a plaintiff must prove that person owed the plaintiff a duty, that that
duty was breached, and that that duty proximately caused the plaintiff harm.
In most personal injury cases the duty a person owes another person is
the duty to use reasonable care so as to avoid harming them. Once a plaintiff
has established the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, the plaintiff
must prove the defendant breached that duty—that is, failed to use
reasonable care. Once the plaintiff has proved a breach of the duty, the
plaintiff must prove that the breach proximately caused injury to the
plaintiff—that is, that the injuries would not have happened but
for the defendant's breach. There may be more than one proximate cause
of an injury.
Once the plaintiff has proved all of those elements, she must prove she
was injured and the nature and extent of her injuries. The plaintiff has
the burden of proof in personal injury actions—that is, the defendant
does not have to prove anything, he must only show the plaintiff has not
met her burden of proof.
Determining whether another person was negligent is very complicated and
requires the advice of a competent personal injury lawyer. Please call
the Virginia personal injury lawyers at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata &
Siegel, P.C. it you believe you were a victim of negligence. The initial
consultation is always free, and you do not pay a fee unless we recover
money on your behalf.