Anyone who has been injured in New Mexico because of another party’s careless or reckless actions, or due to another party’s intentional wrongdoing, may be considering a personal injury lawsuit. Yet understanding what you will need to prove in order to win your case can be complicated since personal injury law is a broad area of the law with many different types of claims. Our Santa Fe personal injury attorneys can say more about the general elements a plaintiff must prove in a personal injury case, and then we can tell you more about the specifics of proving negligence in different kinds of injury claims.
General Elements of a Personal Injury Lawsuit in New Mexico
In order to win a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico, you will need to prove the elements of the claim. While specific aspects of each personal injury case will vary depending upon the type of injury claim you are filing and the particular characteristics of your case, the following are the general elements that a plaintiff must show to win a personal injury lawsuit:
- Duty of care existed: The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
- Breach of the duty of care: The defendant breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, which typically means that the defendant was negligent.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injury.
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care that caused the plaintiff’s injury.
All four elements of a personal injury claim must be proven, but the specific aspects of each element will vary depending upon how and where the injury occurred, and what relationship the defendant had to the injured plaintiff at the time of the injury. How do the elements vary in different types of personal cases? Our injury lawyers in Santa Fe will provide some examples.
Example: Medical Malpractice Elements
In a medical malpractice case, New Mexico law requires that a plaintiff typically shows that a duty of care existed by establishing that a doctor-patient relationship existed prior to the injury. A healthcare provider owes a patient a duty of care. To prove that the defendant breached the duty of care, or that the healthcare provider was negligent, an injured plaintiff usually must show that a reasonable healthcare provider in the same medical field as the defendant and in the same geographic area would consider the defendant’s actions (or inaction) to be negligent.
Example: Premises Liability Elements
In a premises liability case, such as after a slip and fall accident, a plaintiff typically shows that duty of care existed by establishing that the plaintiff was on the defendant’s property lawfully as a social guest or as a customer at a business establishment. A property owner typically owes a duty to make sure that their premises are reasonably safe for parties lawfully on the premises or to warn about hazards. Then, to prove that the defendant property owner breached the duty of care, a plaintiff typically must show that his or her injury resulted from an unreasonable hazard on the premises that the defendant failed to remedy.
Contact a New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer
Do you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit in New Mexico or the specific elements of the claim that you will need to prove? One of our experienced New Mexico personal injury attorneys can assist you. Contact Slate Stern Law today for more information.