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The 5 elements of a legal negligence case

As a lawyer, you have a duty to provide a certain level of diligence while working on cases. But others may accuse you of not upholding this commitment and providing a subpar level of legal service.

According to the Legal Information Institute, negligence refers to a failure to provide a standard level of care that someone else would have provided under similar circumstances. To prove that you acted negligently in your role as a lawyer, the plaintiff must demonstrate that five elements of negligence exist.

1. Duty

The opposing party must show that you owed him or her a certain duty. This duty would require you to act in a certain manner.

2. Breach of duty

Not only does the opposing party have to show you owed him or her a duty, but he or she must prove you breached this duty. This is usually done by demonstrating you failed to exercise reasonable care.

3. Cause in fact

The opposing party needs to show that he or she suffered an injury because of your actions. If legal negligence had not occurred, the alleged damages would not have resulted.

4. Proximate cause

This refers to your level of responsibility in a legal negligence case. Because of proximate cause, you are only responsible for the damages foreseen through certain actions.

5. Damages

The plaintiff in your case must show that he or she suffered legally recognized harm. Usually, this is in the form of physical or financial injury.

Gathering ample evidence can help you defend your rights during a legal negligence case. In court, the jury and judge will compare your evidence to the evidence, testimony and facts of the plaintiff.

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