What does Actionable Negligence mean?
Actionable negligence can include omissions or commissions of actions. For example, a doctor who has a duty of care to provide treatment to a patient may be charged with negligence if they fail to diagnose a condition which another doctor in a similar circumstance would have diagnosed and that failure to diagnose results in the injury or death of that patient. This type of negligence is considered medical negligence.
Proving Actionable Negligence
Claimants who have been injured from the negligent actions of another person or entity may have the legal right to file an injury claim and win compensation for their injuries. To win their negligence case, however, they must prove several elements of their case, generally through a preponderance of evidence. Claimants who cannot prove each element of their claim through evidence or witness testimony will not be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
To prove actionable negligence the following elements of the case must be proven:
The plaintiff must prove the defendant owed them a duty of care. More specifically, the plaintiff must prove that the law recognized the defendant’s relationship with the plaintiff, and this relationship established a legal duty for the defendant to act in a specific manner towards the plaintiff.
For example, if a patient has established a doctor/patient relationship with their doctor, the doctor owes that patient a duty of care. A relationship or duty of care may not be established, however, if the doctor is sitting next to someone in a restaurant and that person is in need of medical care.
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when the defendant fails to exercise reasonable care to fulfill their duty. For example, a doctor may breach their duty if they do not diagnose a patient’s condition, they give them the wrong medication, or they amputate the wrong limb.
- Proximate or actionable cause of injury
Next, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s actions were the proximate or actionable cause of their injuries. For example, the court will decide if the injury would have occurred if the defendant had not acted or if the defendant had not failed to act.
Finally, to win a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove that they have, in fact, suffered injury or harm. Another term for injury is damages, and this can include mental injury (pain, suffering, and emotional trauma) or physical injury (broken bones, burns, abrasions).
Common civil negligence claims include medical malpractice, car accidents, nursing home claims, work-related injuries, bicycle accidents, trucking accidents, and dog bites. If you have questions about your injury claim contact a personal injury lawyer. All injury claims must be filed within the state’s statute of limitations.