The most common tort — and the one most difficult to define — is negligence. Negligence is defined as the failure to use reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable harm to a person, place or thing. If you are negligent and your negligence causes injury to another person to whom you have a “duty of care,” you may be liable to pay any damages resulting from the injury caused by your carelessness. A person may be considered “careless” or “negligent” if they do not use the kind of “reasonable care” that is appropriate to the particular situation in question. For example, a higher level of care is called for if you are pouring boiling coffee into a friend’s glass over his lap than is called for if you are pouring cold lemonade over the kitchen sink. Generally, the law requires that individuals exercise the same level of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances. This is called the “reasonable person” standard.
Some common negligence claims involve:
- Slip and fall accidents (a person slips, falls and is injured on someone else’s property)
- Alcoholic beverage liability (a provider of alcohol — either a social host or bartender — serves too many drinks to an underage or noticeably intoxicated individual who is then involved in an accident that causes injury to a third person)
- Motor vehicle accidents (accidents caused by reckless or careless driving)
- Medical malpractice (when a doctor doesn’t maintain the level of skill and knowledge commonly exercised by other doctors)
In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call McPhillips Fitzgerald & Cullum LLP now at 518.792.1174 or submit a simple case review form. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.