If you have been injured by the fault of another, the person responsible may be liable to compensate you for your injuries, pain and suffering, and financial losses. In order to be eligible for compensation, you must prove that the defendant in your lawsuit was negligent in his or her duty to you. This article is a brief summary of what is required to prove negligence in Oklahoma. To find out more detailed information about negligence in Oklahoma, or to discuss the particular details of your personal injury claim, contact a knowledgeable Sapulpa personal injury attorney.
Duty of care
To make a claim for negligence in Oklahoma, you must first prove that the person liable for your injuries owed you a duty of care. In other words, the person had a responsibility to act toward you with the watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would. Some examples of this type of responsibility include:
- Drivers have a duty to drive in a reasonably careful manner.
- Businesses have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for customers to visit.
- Manufacturers have a duty to make their products safe for use.
- Physicians have a duty to treat with a reasonable standard of care to their patients.
Breach of duty
Secondly, you must prove that the responsible party breached the duty of care he or she owed you. In other words, the responsible party did not behave in a responsible manner with respect to your safety or well-being. For instance:
- If a driver is driving too fast for road conditions, the driver is in breach of a duty to drive carefully.
- If a customer visits an establishment and slips upon a wet floor, the establishment may be in breach of it’s duty to make the place of business safe for visitors.
- If a product is faulty and dangerous for consumers to use, a manufacturer may be in breach of it’s duty to make products safe.
- If a doctor misdiagnoses a patient and prescribes the wrong medicine, he or she may be in breach of a duty to treat the patient with a reasonable standard of care.
Third, you must prove that the responsible person’s breach of duty caused your injury. Basically, this aspect of negligence requires that your injuries were a direct or proximate result of the defendant’s actions. For example:
- When a driver drives too fast and causes an accident, his or her speeding may be the cause of the accident and, thus, your injuries.
- If you visit a grocery store and slip and fall on a spill, the proprietor’s failure to keep the floor in safe condition for customers may be the cause of your injury.
- If a faulty product injures you, the manufacturer’s breach of its duty to make the products safe for consumers is the cause of your injuries.
- When your medical condition worsens because the doctor misdiagnosed your problem or prescribes the wrong medicine, your injury is caused by the fact that he or she failed to treat you with a reasonable standard of care.
Finally, you must prove that the injuries you sustained as a result of the defendant’s actions resulted in you suffering a loss, which can be both tangible (quantifiable) and intangible. For example:
- Injuries sustained in a car accident may leave you with expensive medical bills, lost work, damaged property and emotional distress.
- Injuries sustained in a fall may result in long-term pain and discomfort and an overall loss in the quality of your life.
- Injuries sustained while using a faulty product may result in the loss of life, limb or permanent disfigurement.
- A misdiagnosis by your doctor may result in the need for more treatment and higher medical bills.
All four of these elements must be met in order for the person responsible to be held liable to compensate you for the injuries you sustained due to negligence. In order to do this, you will need to gather and preserve as much evidence as possible from the accident or circumstance that resulted in your injury.
A Sapulpa personal injury attorney is trained and experienced in helping a client gather the evidence needed to build a successful personal injury case.
Free Consultation: Sapulpa Personal Injury Attorney
For a free consultation with a Sapulpa personal injury lawyer, call the Wirth Law Office – Sapulpa attorney at (918) 248-0067 or toll-free at (888) 947-8452, Or, submit the question form at the top right of this page. Either way you reach out to us, we will promptly respond to your legal concerns about your unique personal injury situation.