What Are the Five Elements of Negligence?

Almost all car accident cases are based on five elements of negligence. This is why they’re called accidents. Nobody gets up in the morning and decides they’re going to get into a car crash. They make a small mistake and it ends up costing them and the other driver thousands of dollars in damages.

Your Henderson car accident lawyer is going to have to prove negligence in order for you to win your case. This means they have to prove the following five (5) elements:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care
  • They breached this duty
  • There is a causal connection between their behavior and the accident
  • There is proximate cause (the accident was foreseeable)
  • You were injured and suffered damages

If they can’t prove all of these elements, you won’t recover against the defendant. In other words, you have to show that the defendant didn’t act the way a normal person would and you were injured as a result.

Some car accident cases can become very complex. This is especially true if there are multiple defendants or multiple victims. While there’s no law that say you have to hire a lawyer to handle your case, it’s a good idea. You want someone with experience on your side.

Duty of Care

When it comes to car accident lawsuit, the defendant almost always owes you a duty of care. Everyone with a driver’s license is required to obey all traffic laws. They’re also required to use common sense.

Drivers are aware of this duty. We all have to sit for our driver’s license examination. We also know what it’s like to get a ticket for driving too fast or failing to stop at a stop sign. It’s no surprise that we’re required to obey these rules every time we get behind the wheel.


Proving breach is a bit harder than proving a duty of care. Your Henderson car accident lawyer has to prove that the defendant violated their duty of care. Sometimes the defendant makes this easy for you. If they get a ticket at the time of the crash, it’ll help prove breach.

Other times, your lawyer will need to gather other evidence to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. Some of this evidence includes:

  • Witness statements that confirm the defendant didn’t follow the rules of the road
  • Cameras or video recordings that show the defendant speeding, running a red light or slamming into the back of your car
  • Testimony from accident recreation specialists that state the defendant was travelling at a certain rate of speed at the time of the crash

Your lawyer will rely on all of these things to prove breach.


There has to be some causal connection between the defendant’s behavior and the accident. In other words, you have to show that the defendant was at fault. One way to do this is to prove that the defendant’s car slammed into your car from behind. Another possibility is to show that the defendant’s car crossed into oncoming traffic and hit you head on.

Causation can be very difficult to prove. The defendant is going to say that you were at fault. Nobody ever wants to admit that they caused a car accident. This is why so many cases go to court.


Even though the defendant may have made a mistake, you still have to prove that the accident was foreseeable. Your Henderson auto accident attorney will need to show that the defendant’s breach is the proximate cause of your car crash.

For example, let’s say that your car is hit from behind by a SUV going 10 mph. You were stopped a red light at the time. They bump your car. As a result, you choke on a hamburger you were eaten and suffer serious injuries. You need to have a tracheotomy as a result. This may not be a foreseeable injury. The driver had no idea that you would be eating a burger and that you’d choke on it.


In order to win your case, you have to prove that you were actually injured. Getting into an accident isn’t enough. You have to suffer actual damages in order to file suit. This can include the following:

  • Property damage (to your vehicle)
  • Medical bills
  • Permanent disability
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Henderson, Nevada Today

If you or your loved one are injured in a car accident, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer in Henderson, Nevada today. They’ll review your case and let you know what it may be worth. They can also let you know how strong they think your case is.

Call today and schedule your initial consultation with a lawyer at Nettles Morris Law Firm. It’s absolutely free and you pay nothing until you settle your case. The defendant will have a lawyer working for them and you should too.

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