In Mississippi, as well as most states, negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care which results in harm to another person. While this may seem simple and straightforward, there are many small but complex parts of establishing negligence and determining whether a negligence case is viable.
To prove a negligence case in Mississippi, a plaintiff must establish four basic elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
In the first element of a negligence claim there must be a duty on the defendant’s part. Each person or business entity has a duty, or legal obligation, to exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring a person. The details of that duty varies from case to case. For example, a commercial truck driver has a higher duty of care to other drivers than a typical recreational driver.
The second element is the breach of duty. A breach occurs when a defendant fails to exercise reasonable care in fulfilling their duty. In Mississippi, reasonable care is determined by what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances. For example, a reasonable driver would not text and drive because that could distract them from careful driving, and therefore put others at risk of a wreck.
The third element of negligence is causation, which means that the defendant's breach of duty caused the plaintiff's injuries.
The last element is damages, or the harm or injury suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the defendant's conduct. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
In order to establish a negligence claim, a plaintiff or her attorney must present evidence that establishes each element of negligence. Such evidence typically includes witness testimony, expert testimony, medical records, and other types of physical evidence. While each of the elements may seem simple and straightforward, oftentimes they are more complex than most people realize. Having a good lawyer on your side can help clarify some of the issues that may arise as to each element. It is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and recover the compensation you deserve.