Florida residents who were injured in a car crash, slip and fall accident or other event and who believe that the other side was at fault will need to learn about the legal concept of negligence. The reason is that, to seek compensation for their injury-related losses, victims will likely file a negligence claim, and their success will largely depend on how well they establish four factors.

First, victims must prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care. Drivers have a duty to keep themselves and other road users safe, for instance, and a doctor has a duty provide a patient with medical care that meets an objective standard for competency.

Next, victims must show that the defendant breached the duty by doing or failing to do something that a “reasonably prudent person” would or would not have done. Third, victims must then link the defendant’s action or inaction to the injuries they incurred. At the same time, they will need to prove that the harm was foreseeable. If negligence led to a landslide or other unforeseeable act of nature, for example, there would likely be no case.

The fourth factor is the element of damages. Victims must show that their losses, which may range from medical bills to pain and suffering, can be compensated financially.

A lot more is involved in pursuing a personal injury case, of course. Victims would need to bring together evidence like a police report or incident report and eyewitness testimony. Auto insurance companies may try to force victims to agree to a low-ball settlement, so persistent negotiating would be necessary. With a lawyer, though, victims may feel confident that the process will go more smoothly. The lawyer may start by evaluating the case in light of Florida’s comparative negligence rule.