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Duties in Negligence Claims

negligence Causes of action alleging negligence necessitate careful consideration of the factual scenario behind the “accident.”

The Plaintiff in a lawsuit must prove the basic elements of negligence or otherwise be subject to a Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff’s lawyers and defense counsel alike are taught in law school negligence is:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach of Duty
  3. Proximate Cause
  4. Damages
Standards of Care

Under the Common Law of North Carolina, the determination of duties of care and whether one party owes another a duty of care, is a legal issue.

Lawyers refer to such disputes as “Questions of Law.” Such matters are decided by the Court, the Judge.

Determining what happened and who is responsible is generally up to the Finder of Fact. In a negligence claim, that ordinary is answered by the Jury.

When facts are disputed or in the event more than one conclusion can be inferred from the evidence presented at trial, issues involving whether a legal duty exists may include both Questions of Law and Questions of Fact.

Issues of fact are determined by the Finder of Fact.

Whether those facts found give rise to a formal legal duty/responsibility are determined by the Court (the Judge). Mozingo by Thomas v. Pitt Cty. Mem’l Hosp., Inc. 1992

If there are legitimate issues of material fact, relative to whether a Duty of Care exists, a Motion for Summary Judgment cannot be granted. Copeland v. Award Homes, 2020.

Breach of Standard of Care

Assuming a duty is owed by one party to another, a Complaint for Negligence (Damages) must allege the Defendant “breached” the standard of care.

The etymology of the word “breach” comes from Old French meaning break.

Under the NC negligence laws, a breach refers to a violation of the law, an infraction, or a breaking of the rules.

Assuming the Defendant owes a standard of care or duty, such as the duty to exercise Reasonable Care, the failure to comply with or follow that standard may constitute a breach.

Proximate Cause

The Plaintiff bears the Burden of Proof to show a causal connection between an action (or failure to act) and an injury.

The legal standard in civil court is By the Greater Weight of the Evidence. The Plaintiff must show “more likely than not” something happened.

“Causality is a common factor of contention in litigation over wreck cases. Without a clear causal connection between the breach of a duty and an injury, a claim may be extinguished.”

– Kevin Jones, Injury Lawyer

The legal doctrine of causation as used in NC courts works to impose limitations of liability in tort.

The law requires a cause-in-fact connection between the harm imposed and the conduct of the party responsible for the injury.

No such thing as an “accident”

The Plaintiff bears the burden to prove the Defendant breached a standard of care and that breach had consequences.

The breach must actually cause the harm.

Without the action or failure to act, the injury would not have taken place.

Causation (proximate cause) is a conclusion drawn from the facts and circumstances of the “accident.”


Damages resulting from a wreck may include things like:

  1. Property Damage
    1. Vehicle
    2. Contents of Vehicle
    3. Personal Items
  2. Medical Bills
    1. EMT / Ambulance
    2. Emergency Room
    3. Surgical Costs
    4. Treatment
    5. Hospital Bills
    6. Aftercare
    7. Physical Therapy
  3. Medical Devices
  4. Lost Wages
  5. Lost Income
  6. Lost Future Ability to Work
  7. Pain and Suffering
  8. Permanent Injury
  9. Scarring and Disfigurement
  10. Loss of Limb
  11. Loss of Range of Motion
  12. Wrongful Death
  13. Loss of Society
  14. Loss of Companionship
Related Topics of Interest
  1. Holiday Drunk Driving Accidents
  2. Are lawsuits required?
  3. Car Accident Deposition NC
  4. Underinsured Motorist Coverage
  5. Med Pay
  6. Pattern Jury Instruction: Negligence
Dodge Jones Personal Injury Law Firm

Car Accident Our law firm is dedicated to helping people who have been injured due to the negligence of others.

Each case is different.

If you have questions about whether you have a cause of action for negligence, we are available for immediate consultation.

Our law firm does not charge consultation fees.

To schedule your complimentary consultation, call NOW: 877-622-6671

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