In today’s episode Chuck talks about negligence and goes through the different types of lawsuits you can file for damages. He talks about the process of proving that a business or someone else failed a duty that they had, and the process of being awarded damages for that.

Negligence Video Transcript

Hi everyone.

This is a simple explanation of negligence and what that is. I’m going to give you a hypothetical: you start out with someone who owes you a duty. Like a grocery store chain. Alright? They owe you a duty because you are a business invitee (You are asked to come in there and shop.) So they have a duty to make sure that you don’t slip and fall. They breach that duty because they have a pallet of bags of ice sitting there for hours. The bags of ice melt. Then they move the pallet and nobody cleans it up.

They have a duty to protect you from hidden defects and typically you can’t see water on the floor in that situation. So they have breached that duty, you slip and fall. Causation: it causes you injuries. You break a hip, you twist a knee. As a result of that you have damages. In other words you are out of pocket for lost wages. You have pain and suffering that is compensable by  a monetary amount. Or you could have medical expenses. It is possible that an accident could cause an impairment. Meaning that if your hip broke and it was fixed it’s not quite perfect like it used to be. Not to mention you’re going to have arthritis in the future.Those are future damages.

Breaching a Duty

So it’s pretty simple. Someone owes someone else a duty. They breach that Duty. And that breach has caused the other person damages. Not everybody owes somebody a duty. Sometimes there is an accident, I’m not talking about a car accident because all of the other drivers out there owe their fellow drivers a duty not to run a red light and crash into them, that’s simple. Sometimes there are truly accidents where that individual doesn’t have a duty. If they don’t have a duty to someone and it’s not breached that individual has no claim against them.

This is very simplistic the way I put it, but this would apply to:

  • A Car Accident
  • Motorcycle Accident
  • Bicycle Accident
  • Pedestrian Accident
  • A Slip and Fall

This could also apply in the case of A Defective Product. When Somebody puts a defective product into the stream of commerce, it’s deemed to be safe for you to use in the manner for which it was designed. A vacuum cleaner is designed to vacuum the carpet. It is not designed to knock rats out of a tree. So don’t put it over your head and it if falls on your head you can sue them. That’s not the way it works. It must be used it in the manner which it was designed.


Malpractice situations, whether it be a product within the malpractice, and I’m talking about generically speaking medical malpractice. Someone gets a knee prosthetic, a fake knee. They get a titanium knee that is put in in place of their arthritic one and it turns out that the knee prosthetic is defective. It wasn’t cast properly or it wasn’t measured right. Something along those lines. Those are situations where someone could actually go after the manufacturer of the knee.

Premises Liability

Then you’ve got premises liability and a situation that comes to mind is one where an elderly couple was up north staying at a hotel. A motel actually up by the Grand Canyon. The parking lot was very very dark. The lot had holes in the asphalt which you couldn’t see at night. My client stepped into it. She didn’t see it because it was so dark. Then she fell and broke numerous bones. That is a premises liability situation. Any time someone is invited on to a business property to purchase something, or to stay there, that business owes you a duty of safety.

They have to go a little bit overboard to make sure you don’t get hurt. That also includes protecting you by having security cameras or adequate lighting. A hotel for instance needs to have good locks to ensure people don’t get into your room. They have the duty, they breach the duty by not having sufficient security and it has caused someone damages.

Breach of Duty With No Damages

So that’s negligence in a nutshell. That is applicable to any situation where you’ve been injured. Whether or not you can prove that a duty has been breached, that’s another issue. And you never – and this is something that is hard to get through to a client. They get into a car accident. The other guy ran a red light and he was going one hundred miles per hour. The client walked away from it, and they want to sue him. Then my question is: why?  They say the guy was going 100 miles per hour and he ran a red light.

Well that’s fine, and a duty has been breached. But if it doesn’t cause any damages, there’s no claim there. You don’t sue somebody as a matter of principal if you’re not going to collect on the back end. On the other hand, you don’t get to – let’s assume you’ve had catastrophic injuries. If you can’t prove that there was a breach of duty, you never get to the injuries. Gee, I lost my leg, I lost my arm, I lost both of those things. But if you can’t prove that someone owes you a duty, and they breached that duty, you don’t ever get to the part about the damages.

You can’t put the cart before the horse. You have to prove a duty and a breach before you even get to the damages portion of it.

Have You Been Injured Due to Someone Else’s Negligence?

We have been practicing Personal Injury law in our firm for over 30 years. We have the experience that you need to prove that a business or another person had a duty to you that was breached. They we can fight to earn you compensation for your damages, including medical bills, money for any damage to your vehicle, lost time from work, or even compensation for your pain and suffering. Every case is different, contact Chuck today at 480-545-0700 to talk to him about your case.