The Steps to Proving Liability 

 November 8, 2013

By  LMW Attorneys

All legal cases that involve personal injury have the potential to be very complex. If you were injured because of another person’s recklessness or carelessness, then it’s your legal right to ensure you get proper compensation.

Although a massive percentage of personal injury cases involve an automobile accident, some cases involve defective products, work-related accidents, slip and falls, animal attacks, boating accidents and airplane crashes. However, the burden of proving fault and damages always rests on the injured victim.

Put simply, the injured victim must prove that the other party is liable. If you have an attorney, he or she will need to prove that the other party is liable. It must be demonstrated that you were injured because of the other party’s negligence.

To properly prove liability, you and your attorney need to show:

• Causation

• Breach of Duty

• Duty of Care

Duty of Care

Duty of care must always be proven first, and regardless of the personal injury case, this fact remains true. This means the plaintiff is required to prove that he or she had a legal relationship with the defendant that creates a duty of care. This does not mean that the injured party knew the defendant; just that the law created a duty to use reasonable means to avoid injuring the other.

The plaintiff is also required to prove that he or she was owed a duty of care from the defendant. To understand what this means, it’s easy to think of a typical relationship between a patient and a doctor. Another example would be the relationship between a product manufacturer and consumer. A driver of a car has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuring another person.

Breach of Duty

To prove breach of duty, the plaintiff must show that the defendant knew or should have known that he or she was putting the plaintiff in direct risk of damage or injury. If the plaintiff became injured and the defendant did nothing to fix the situation, then this is a breach of duty.

An example of this is a driver who runs a red light, causing a car accident. Obviously the driver knew or should have known that running a red light will expose other drivers to being involved in an accident.

The plaintiff must prove not only that a duty existed, but that the defendant breached that duty of care. The plaintiff must then prove that he or she should be awarded damages because the breach caused injuries. A plaintiff is also required to show that he or she suffered injury, damages or loss, and the defendant owed the plaintiff duty of care.


Basically, the plaintiff must prove that the cause of  his or her injuries or damages was the direct result of the defendant’s negligence or carelessness.

For example, an injured driver could present evidence that his or her broken arm or neck sprain was the direct result of the accident.


Once liability has been proven, the plaintiff and his or her attorney will need to determine damages. In other words, how much compensation does the plaintiff deserve? There are many factors that are used to determine the amount of compensation that a plaintiff deserves.