What Is Negligence In A Kansas City Personal Injury Case?

If you have been injured, lost time from work, or incurred medical bills due to a personal injury, how do you know if the other party has been negligible? Are they at fault? What is their legal responsibility to your personal damage?Personal injury cases can often result from the negligence of another individual, so it is important to understand the definition and role of negligence in a personal injury case in Kansas City.


Negligence has two key components: the duty of care and the breach of the duty of care. Legally, duty of care is the responsibility one person has to avoid causing harm to another person. In order to prove that a person was negligent in a personal injury case, first the duty of care must be established, and then that the breach of the duty of care in some way contributed to the injury. The injured party must demonstrate that the other person’s conduct in some way failed to meet that duty. When the breach of care is established, the person must display real injuries commensurate with the breach.For example, in an auto accident the person running a red light or stop sign has been negligent. If a store fails to warn customers of potential hazards in the store, such as wet or slick spots, it has been negligent. Or if a nursing home provides inadequate patient care or abuse of residents, that is a form of negligence.

Establishing a Negligence

The injured person (plaintiff) must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the person or company at fault (defendant) acted negligently and is therefore liable for any harm or damage done to the plaintiff. In order to prove negligence in Missouri, there are four elements:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach
  3. Causation
  4. Damages

DUTYThe first step is to assess whether or not the defendant was required to provide a legal duty of care. For some relationships there is a given legal duty such as between a caregiver or doctor and a patient or when an individual is expected to operate a motor vehicle safely. These relationships have an inherent duty of care to provide competent and reasonable care. Duty is essentially that under the circumstances the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff.BREACHA breach of duty of care means that the defendant broke or failed to act in a certain way based on the duty of care. The defendant’s actions or their inability to take action directly resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. The court assesses the breach of duty by analyzing what a “reasonably prudent person” would do or how they would act in a similar situation. Looking at how an average person would respond compared to how the defendant handled the situation is standard in any personal injury case and helps to address the level of breach of duty of care.CAUSATIONEstablishing causation is essential in any personal injury case regarding negligence. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence actually led to their injury. It is possible for an individual to act negligently, but not be the direct cause of injury. Another aspect of causation is whether or not the injury could have been prevented such that a reasonable person would have been able to predict that their behavior might cause an injury. However, if the injury is from a random, unexpected natural event then the action could not have been predicted and more than likely, the plaintiff will not receive compensation for any injuries.DAMAGESDamages are a monetary compensation or covering related expenses for the defendant’s actions or inability to take direct action to remedy a situation or experience that harmed or injured the plaintiff. Generally, the court is responsible for distributing the compensation.

Negligence Claims in Kansas City

Negligence law rarely deviates from one state to another, but the legal doctrine used to assign fault is different in different states. Missouri’s legal doctrine that assigns fault is called pure comparative negligence. Pure comparative negligence is a system that allocates fault based on percentages to each party involved in the accident. In this case, the plaintiff can only recover the percentage the defendant was actually found at fault.Kansas operates under a modified comparative negligence system. In this case, the plaintiff can only recover damages if (s)he was 49% or less at fault. Missouri and Kansas have different systems for allocating damages to a plaintiff, so it is important to be aware of the laws in each of the states. In Missouri, the amount of fault won’t prevent you from recovering damages, whereas in Kansas it will.

The Popham Law Firm Difference

Popham has been helping the residents of Kansas City since 1918 by providing the highest level of expertise in personal injury law. If you or a loved one have suffered due to the negligence of another person or company, call Popham immediately as there are statutes of limitations on various cases. Popham attorneys are well respected within the community as they are dedicated to protecting the rights of their clients. Popham Law Firm will ensure you get the compensation you deserve. For questions regarding your personal injury case and an assessment of negligence, contact us via our website or call us at (844) 243-2288.

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