What Are the Basic Elements for a Personal Injury Claim?

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While the specifics of personal injury cases vary based on the facts of each case, there are certain fundamentals that apply in all cases of personal injury. According to the law, personal injury cases involve accidents that result in damages to the plaintiff.

While not always the case, this usually means that the plaintiff was the victim of carelessness or negligence on the part of someone else. If a driver negligently causes an accident, for example, the victims of that accident are the individuals who were harmed by the driver. 

Violations of personal rights are also at the heart of personal injury claims. These take many forms and include injuries such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, and battery. In cases of discrimination and harassment, victims may also seek compensation through personal injury lawsuits. 

At Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law, we are committed to defending our clients’ rights in personal injury claims. We invite you to contact us if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence. In the meantime, here are some of the most important aspects that are present in all personal injury claims.

What Are the Essential Elements of a Personal Injury Claim?

The first and most important element of a personal injury claim is that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care to act or not act in a certain manner. This can be very difficult and complicated to prove, as it requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant owed them a legal duty of care, as well as that this person breached that duty of care.

The second critical element of every personal injury claim is that the plaintiff must prove actual damages resulting from the defendant’s lack of care. This usually means that the plaintiff must present medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that they incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence.

What Is Duty of Care?

The duty of care exists when anyone has the power or ability to act. If a person has a duty to act, then that person has a responsibility to act in a safe manner, such as behind the wheel of a car. 

A duty of care may be assumed but not imposed. For example, a person who drives a car is under a duty to avoid hitting another car that is parked or stopped; moreover, the driver is required to avoid any action that causes injury to others.

In other words, you should act responsibly in all that you do so as to prevent harming others. It’s a pretty simple concept and one that we’re all taught from a very young age. But unfortunately, it’s not a universally held belief. So there are times when it’s intentional, such as a vehicle insurance scam. Other times, it’s completely accidental.

This is why it’s important to have a personal injury attorney in your corner to sift through the fact to get to the bottom of proving negligence and what you’re potentially entitled to.

Breach of Duty

The plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care. A breach of duty occurs when the duty of care discussed above is not followed by the defendant. A breach of duty may be by a deliberate act or an omission, as one who is under a duty to act is required only to avoid an unreasonable risk of harm. A person acts negligently when they have a duty to act and fails to perform according to the duty or in circumstances that create a risk of harm that is not reasonable.

A breach of duty is a key element of every personal injury claim, as it establishes the plaintiff’s cause of action. That breach of duty can be by the defendant’s act or omission, and the defendant is required to take reasonable care to avoid causing harm to the plaintiff.

Sustained Injury

Whether emotional, financial, or physical, your injury is the entire basis for your claim. As such, there must be an injury sustained by you, and you’ll need to provide evidence to proceed with your lawsuit. Your personal injury attorney will help gather evidence to build your case. This can include conducting interviews with witnesses, 


Causation of the immediate and direct consequences that stem from the breach of duty, as well as a matter of right in the plaintiff’s position. These include medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses that the plaintiff sustained as a result of the defendant’s negligence.  

What’s more, causation must be proven to have arisen from the defendant’s breach of duty. This means that the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s negligence caused him or her to incur these damages.

This is the last piece of the puzzle, so to speak, where your personal injury attorney ties all of the above pieces together to prove that you have a viable lawsuit against the defendant. 

What are some common types of personal injury claims?

There are many different types of personal injury claims, each of which can be brought against a negligent person, party, or organization. Here are some common types of personal injury claims:

Motor Vehicle Accidents: This type of claim involves injuries that occur when someone is hit by a car, truck, or another vehicle, as well as injuries that occur when a car is involved in a car accident.

Medical Malpractice: This type of claim involves medical treatment that was negligent, including injuries that occur when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, performs an improper surgery, or performs an unnecessary surgery.

Work-related Injuries: This type of claim involves injuries that occur when one is injured at work, including on the job and on the job site.

Let Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law Assist You in Your Personal Injury Claim

Personal injuries can take on many different forms, so it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney who can help build your case and get you the compensation you deserve. To arrange a meeting with us to discuss your claim, give us a call at (772) 287-2600. Or, if you prefer, you can always contact us via email at info@crarybuchanan.com.

The information in this blog post is for reference only and not legal advice. As such, you should not decide whether to contact a lawyer based on the information in this blog post. Moreover, there is no lawyer-client relationship resulting from this blog post, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you need legal counsel, please consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.