When you are injured due another’s negligent behavior, you have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in order to be compensated for any injuries and financial losses they caused you to suffer. However, in order to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, your case must possess 4 essential elements:

Element #1: Duty of Care

All personal injury cases begin with the presence of duty. The defendant must have had a duty to behave in a certain manner with respect to your safety or well-being.

For example, motorists have a duty to drive carefully with respect to your safety and the safety of others.

In a more complicated example, manufacturers have the duty to insure that the products they produce and distribute are safe to be used by consumers.

Element #2: Breach of Duty of Care

A personal injury cases arise out of a person’s breach of his or her legal duty to you, as described above.

When a person breaches his or her expected duty towards you, he or she can be held personally liable for whatever injuries and losses you incur.

Driving recklessly and/or disobeying traffic signals is a clear breach of the duty a motorist has to operate his or her vehicle in a safe and prudent manner.

Likewise, a manufacturer will have breached his duty of care, if for example, you are injured by a faulty or defective product that they produced.

Element #3: Causation

The defendant’s breach of duty must be the cause of your injuries. In other words, there must be a clear line of causation between what the defendant did (or did not do) and your injuries.

For example, if a motorist runs a stop sign and hits your car, and because of the impact of the car accident, you suffer whiplash, then there is clear causation between that motorist’s reckless driving and your injuries.

Causation is often a complicated issue, because in many cases an accident is the result of a variety of different factors. Therefore, causation often falls upon a jury to decide.

Element #4: Damages

You must have suffered some damages, economic and/or non-economic.

Economic damage, include quantifiable losses such medical bills, lost wages and damage to personal property. Non-economic damage are those that are hard to quantify, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost quality of life, scarring, disfigurement… etc.

If you have suffered no damages, you have no personal injury case, period. So, along with breach of duty, this is one of the more important elements of any personal injury lawsuit.

If you are able to convince a jury that the defendant breached his or her duty to you and that you have suffered damages, that person may be held liable to repay you for any resulting injuries and losses.

It must be noted that it is your responsibility, the plaintiff in a personal injury case, to prove that these elements exist. If your case lacks any one of these elements, it is likely to be dismissed.

Furthermore, the fact that your case possesses each of these 4 elements will not guarantee its success. Rather, they together form the basis for the right to bring suit against the party at fault.

This is why you need an experienced and award winning personal injury lawyer like Keith Williams in your corner. It is your lawyers job to prove that these 4 essential elements of a personal injury case exist.


If you have been injured by the negligence of another in Tennessee, you may have cause to pursue a personal injury case against them to recover the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, loss of property and any other damages. For help with this, call our office at 615-313-3999 and speak to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss your particular case.