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Do I Have A Case?

By: Alex Lindvall

This article is meant to give a brief overview of what it takes to win a lawsuit.

There are two main areas of the law: criminal law and civil law.  Criminal law concerns acts against the State.  (If you ever see a case name like Johnson v. State or The People v. O.J. Simpson, those are criminal cases.)  The vast majority of cases, however, are civil cases — i.e., two private parties “suing” each other.

In order to be successful in a civil case (or a “tort” case), the Plaintiff must show 4 things: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) damages; and (4) causation.

  1. Duty — You must show that the defendant should have met a certain standard of care.
    • I.e., the defendant should have acted reasonably.
  2. Breach — The defendant did not meet his standard of care.
    • I.e., the defendant did not act reasonably.
  3. Damages — You were hurt or injured in someway.
  4. Causation — Your injuries would not have occurred if the defendant acted reasonably.

In the simplest terms, you must show that the defendant did something wrong that hurt you.

The classic example is the auto accident.  Imagine that a driver ran a stop sign and “T-boned” you.  That driver should have stopped at the stop sign (duty).  The driver did not stop at the stop sign (breach).  Your car is totaled and you are seriously injured (damages).  If that driver had stopped at the stop sign you would not be injured (causation).

This is an overly simplified summary of tort law.  If you or someone you know was injured due to another’s negligence, you will need legal assistance.

The Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Oracle Law Group have litigated thousands of civil cases.  If you have a claim that meets these four elements, call us today.