Tort law encompasses the cases where one party causes some sort of injury to another party, and the injured person or entity sues to be “made whole” again. There are three kinds of torts that are actionable in civil cases. Intentional tort lawsuits require purposeful action on the part of the person or entity causing injury to another (assault, battery, trespass, defamation, etc.).
Negligence lawsuits require non-deliberate but careless action. These include slip and falls, motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, etc. Strict liability cases involve injuries for which a party may be responsible regardless of direct fault. These include defective products, wild animal cases, and “abnormally dangerous activity” cases.
Torts cases are spurred by civil wrongs, but can be brought at the same time as a criminal case for the same wrong if the harm was criminal as well. As one example, a person may sue another person under tort law to be made whole after someone commits battery against them. This person may also be sued criminally, because assaulting someone is additionally against the law and adverse to the interests of society. Below we’ll take a look at one kind of tort case specifically: the negligence lawsuit.
The Required Elements of a Negligence Lawsuit
A negligence lawsuit is the most common civil case brought into courtrooms, but it is more complicated than one initially thinks. They are brought when a person or entity does not adhere to what society at large believes to be reasonable conduct, and which results in harm to another.
The four elements to prove a negligence claim are: duty, breach of duty, causation, and injury. A defendant, the injuring party, must have some legally accepted duty to the plaintiff. This duty relates to the defendant’s behavior. In negligence lawsuits, the action is reviewed as to whether an objectively reasonable person would have acted the same way in the same circumstances. The action is also referred to as taking reasonable care under the circumstances.
Second, the defendant must have breached that duty by engaging in unreasonable action under those circumstances. Third, this breach must be the “actual and proximate cause” of an injury that the plaintiff sustained. What does this mean? The cause must have a direct link shown between the defendant’s conduct and the plaintiff’s injury as a result of that conduct. Finally, one must prove that some legally redressable injury occurred. Each state has developed different laws and rules, essentially requiring you to choose an attorney who is competent in the state laws of the place your case will be brought in.
Environmental Negligence Claims
Environmental negligence lawsuits generally relate to claims of careless discharges of pollutants, such as this case from Maryland. Negligence per se, allows a plaintiff to prove that a breach of duty occurred simply by showing the breaking of some law meant to protect people against the type of injury sustained. This type of negligence claim is also common in environmental cases.
If a plaintiff is successful in their negligence lawsuit and proves each of the four elements above, there are various remedies available. The remedies often include a claim for monetary damages. In order to calculate monetary damages, sometimes expert testimony is required. An environmental attorney handling an environmental negligence suit is likely to argue for injury compensation, losses in value to property, remediation, and loss of use of the property.
The attorneys at Desautel Law have been trying environmental cases for decades. Begin a conversation with our attorneys today if you wish to discuss your potential negligence lawsuit. Email or call us at 401.477.0023.