elements of negligence ohio

Being a personal injury victim can be a distressing and life-shattering experience. Now you’re dealing with serious injuries and a deteriorating financial situation. You shouldn’t have to be responsible for the aftermath of someone else’s negligence. 

Under Ohio law, victims can hold the negligent party financially liable for their actions. The legal doctrine of negligence is at the center of almost every personal injury case. In order to prevail, you must provide sufficient evidence for each of the four elements of negligence.

At Bensinger Legal Services, we have extensive personal injury experience, a vast amount of resources, and unparalleled compassion that we use every day for our clients.

Read on to learn more about the elements of negligence in Ohio and how our firm can help you with your negligence claim.

Contact us now at (419) 455-1410 or complete our convenient online form today to receive a complimentary case assessment.

What Are the Elements of a Negligence Claim?

The negligence doctrine refers to the failure to reach a standard of care that a reasonable person would have if faced with a similar situation. Negligence can result from an action or inaction that breaches this standard.

You must prove each of the four elements of negligence to be successful in your claim. The elements are:

  1. Duty of care,
  2. Breach of duty,
  3. Causation, and 
  4. Damages.

Our seasoned personal injury lawyers can help you gather the evidence you need for each element of negligence.

Duty of Care

The first element you need to prove is a duty of care. To be liable for negligence, the party you are suing must have owed you a duty of care. 

A duty of care is an obligation that requires a party to act with reasonable care or caution toward another party. 

To prove duty of care, you must provide evidence that a relationship existed between the parties. This relationship may be explicit in a contract or other agreement. It may also be implied from the surrounding circumstances, such as walking into a place of business or driving on the road.

The following are examples of a duty of care:

  • Traffic accident cases. All drivers on the road have a duty of care to drive safely and obey the traffic laws. They owe this duty to all other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Product liability cases. All manufacturers owe a duty to buyers of their products that they are free from manufacturing and design defects.
  • Premises liability cases. All business owners owe a duty of care to their customers that their premises are free from harmful defects and without safety issues.
  • Dog bite cases. All dog owners owe the public a duty of care to control their dog to ensure it does not pose a safety risk to others.

This list is non-exhaustive. There are many examples of duties of care in other situations. 

Contact us for a free case evaluation

Breach of Duty

The next element in your negligence claim is a breach of duty. After proving that the party you are suing owed you a duty of care, you must prove that they violated the duty.

You can prove a breach of duty by providing evidence the party acted wrongfully or did not act when they should have. For example, driving while intoxicated, failing to stop at a red light, and speeding are all breaches of the duty to drive safely.


Causation is the third element of negligence. It refers to the connection between the breach of duty and your damages. You must prove that the actions of the party you are suing caused the accident and thus your damages.

Causation is a complicated element to prove. Most negligence claims that fail do so because they could not establish causation. Did the actions of the party you are suing cause the accident? The following are types of evidence your personal injury lawyer can use to prove causation:

  • Police reports,
  • Video surveillance,
  • Photographs,
  • Medical reports,
  • Accident reconstruction,
  • Witness interviews,
  • Expert testimony, and
  • Black box data.

Our attorneys at Bensinger Legal Services can help you collect evidence to support causation so we can fight for the maximum compensation possible.


Damages refer to the effects of the negligent act suffered by the victim. In personal injury cases, damages are the physical, emotional, and financial injuries caused by the negligent act.

You prove damages by providing evidence documenting the injuries sustained as a result of the other party’s negligent act.

Typical documentation used to prove damages include the following:

  • Medical documents,
  • Tax documents,
  • Pay stubs,
  • Bills, and
  • Bank statements.

Depending on the injuries you suffered and the effects the injuries have on your employment, you may be able to recover for the following:

  • Hospital stays,
  • Doctor visits,
  • Diagnostic testing,
  • Physical therapy,
  • Counseling, 
  • At-home care,
  • Loss of income,
  • Loss of earning capacity,
  • Pain and suffering,
  • Loss of consortium, 
  • Emotional distress, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

If a loved one died as a result of someone’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. 

Our experienced attorneys will compile this evidence and calculate an appropriate value for your injuries.

What Is Comparative Negligence in Ohio?

Ohio is a comparative negligence state. This means that even if you are partly responsible for the accident, you can still recover financially. Ohio law states that contributory negligence does not bar recovery as long as the injured party’s percentage of fault does not exceed the fault of all other parties. In these cases, the plaintiff’s compensation awarded is reduced by their allocation of fault.

For example, if an injured party is 40% at fault for an accident and sustained $100,000 in injuries, they can still recover $60,000. However, if they were 51% at fault, they cannot recover anything because this exceeds the other party’s 49% fault.

Contact Our Ohio Personal Injury Lawyers and Get the Justice You Deserve

At Bensinger Legal Services, we provide exceptional service to every client. Founder and award-winning attorney Aaron L. Bensinger proudly represents clients in Greater Northwest Ohio. He believes in standing up for people against big insurance companies and helping clients get the financial relief they need after an accident. Give us a call at (419) 455-1410 or fill out our online form today for a free case evaluation.

Author Photo Aaron L. Bensinger

Aaron L. Bensinger is an Ohio attorney serving personal injury and civil litigation clients. He has extensive trial experience and makes client service is his primary focus. As a partner at Balyeat, Leahy, Daley, Miller & Bensinger, LLC, Aaron happily works in Lima, OH, and serves the entire Northwest region of the state and beyond.

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