Running errands one Sunday afternoon, a man stops at a traffic light. The light turns green, he looks both ways and proceeds through the intersection. Suddenly, and without warning, an SUV runs the red light and violently strikes the side of his vehicle. The man is seriously injured in the accident and requires a great deal of time and medical treatment to recover from these injuries. What legal claim does the man have in this scenario?

Negligence is defined in the law as an unintentional tort. An unintentional tort is a civil cause of action that does not require the claimant to prove that the other party intended to perform the action that caused his or her injury. In order to successfully make a claim for negligence, the man in this scenario must provide facts that fulfill the following elements: 1) A person has a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances; 2) A breach of this duty must have occurred; 3) the person making a claim must have been injured; and 4) the injury sustained in the accident must have been proximately caused by the accident.

Here, the driver of the SUV had a duty to act reasonably under the circumstances; he breached that duty by failing to stop at the red traffic light; the man was injured; and the accident caused the injuries experienced by the man. As a result, the man has a claim for negligence against the driver of the SUV.

Once a claim for negligence is shown, one must provide evidence of his or her damages. Damages in a negligence case may include the amount of medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering and inconvenience associated with the accident.

Knowing your rights is key to protecting them.