How Do I Prove My Injury Was Caused By Negligence?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on July 19, 2017 in Personal Injury
Updated on February 24, 2022

personal injury claimA personal injury claim can be an effective method for recovering compensation for the pain and suffering you endured because of another’s actions.

However, in most situations, you must be able to prove that your injury was caused by the at-fault party’s negligence in order to file a claim. This can be difficult for someone who is unfamiliar with personal injury claims and often requires extensive knowledge of Wisconsin’s personal injury laws.

To help you understand the requirements needed to prove negligence, PKSD’s reputable Milwaukee personal injury attorneys have provided this guide to show how we identify an act of negligence when it occurs.

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a legal term used to refer to a person or entity’s indifference to the safety and well-being of others by behaving recklessly or carelessly.

Proving the at-fault party was negligent is a fundamental factor in bringing a personal injury claim. There are four elements of negligence that must be present in your claim for you to be able to pursue compensation from the at-fault party:


The first step to proving negligence is to establish that the at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care. This means the at-fault party was legally obligated to act in a safe and reasonable manner to ensure your safety.

An example of a legal duty of care is the obligation a motorist has to drive responsibly and within the state’s traffic laws to preserve roadway safety and avoid an auto accident.

Breach of Duty

Once you have established that the at-fault party was obligated to ensure your safety, your next step is to show that he or she breached this duty.

A breach of duty is considered to be any act that would violate the duty owed to you by the at-fault party that would deviate from the behavior and decisions of a reasonable, prudent person.

A reasonably prudent person is a legal term used to describe an individual who acts responsibly and with regard for the safety of others. In order to prove the at-fault party breached his or her duty, you must show that his or her actions differ from how a responsible person would act under similar circumstances.

For instance, a responsible motorist in Wisconsin understands that he or she has an obligation to drive in a safe manner and must follow the state’s traffic laws. The motorist would know that he or she may jeopardize the well-being of others if he or she were to drive recklessly, such as running through a red light.


Although you may prove the at-fault party breached his or her duty, this is not enough to sustain a personal injury claim. You must establish that your injury was directly caused by this breach of duty and could not have occurred any other way.

In order to prove causation, you must provide evidence that clearly shows the at-fault party’s actions or inactions were the only cause of your injury. There are two types of causation you will need to prove:

Actual Cause

Actual cause refers to a cause without which your injury would have never occurred. In other words, had it not been for the accident caused by the at-fault party’s negligence, you would have not been injured.

An example of actual cause in a personal injury claim is if you were injured by a motorist who struck your vehicle after running a stop sign. Had the at-fault driver properly stopped and checked the road for approaching vehicles, you would have remained unharmed.

Proximate Cause

Proximate cause refers to the at-fault party’s ability to foresee that his or her actions could cause harm to another. This means that the at-fault party is liable for your injury if he or she should have reasonably known his or her actions would cause you injury.

For instance, the driver who runs a stop sign should have reasonably foreseen that his or her actions could potentially harm someone if another driver was approaching.


The last element of negligence you are required to prove is that you suffered some form of damages because of the at-fault party’s actions.

The actual damages you suffered can be any noticeable harm or loss you have endured because of your injury. These damages are often monetary losses, such as hospital bills or lost wages that a court can use to accurately award you compensation.

Wisconsin uses the standard of comparative negligence when deciding damages in a personal injury claim. Under this rule, your actions will be examined by the court to determine if you may be partially liable for causing your injury. If you are, the damages you are able to recover from your claim will be reduced by the level of fault assigned to you by the court.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Attorneys Today

Although proving negligence in a personal injury claim may seem straightforward, there are often many factors involved that complicate this process.

You may need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to help you gather evidence and construct a case that proves your injury resulted because of another’s negligence. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Wisconsin is three years, so do not hesitate to contact PKSD as soon as possible.

Do not hesitate to contact the experienced Milwaukee personal injury attorneys at PKSD for dedicated legal representation. We will provide you with a free, no obligation claim review and will only charge you for our services if we successfully recover compensation for your claim.

Complete our Free Case Evaluation form to get started today.

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