Category: Legal Malpractice Posted on Nov 23, 2022

What Are the Four Elements of Negligence in Connecticut?

four elements of negligence

Connecticut negligence cases run the gamut. Car accident cases, professional malpractice, Legal malpractice, Accountant malpractice work accidents, and premises liability cases rely on the legal standard of negligence. Although these cases may have different facts, they all require you to prove the four elements of negligence for a successful case. 

The elements of negligence may seem confusing, especially if you’re trying to figure out if you have a viable personal injury claim. Below, our Connecticut personal injury lawyer explains negligence and its elements.

To find out if we would help with your case please call (860) 561-0651 or send us an online message today.


Negligence is when someone fails to act with the same or similar level of care that an ordinary and prudent person would have exercised. If someone does something that a reasonable person would not have done (or fails to do something that a reasonable person would have done), then they could be liable for negligence. 

There are four elements to prove negligence. We describe each below.

Duty of Care

Number one on the list of elements of a negligence claim is the duty of care. The injured party must show that the responsible person, or defendant, owed them a duty of care. A duty of care is an obligation to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. For example, all drivers owe others on the road a duty to follow traffic law and drive carefully. 

Certain individuals owe a higher duty to specific people. People with a higher standard of care include Lawyers who owe their patients the duty to act per the acceptable professional standard of care for that the specific area of the law. This means they must act with the level of care that similar lawyers provide under similar circumstances. The same standard applies to accountants and other professionals. 

Breach of Duty

The next thing you must prove is that the defendant breached the duty of care. A breach is an act or omission that isn’t in line with the duty of care. For example, if a driver speeds, they’re violating a duty they owe others on the road. 


The next element you must prove is causation. You must show a connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and your harm. First, you must show that it was because of the defendant’s actions (or failure to act), the injury would not have occurred. 

You must also show that the defendant’s actions proximately caused the injury. This means the defendant’s act must be directly related to your harm and not a remote cause. 


Lastly, you must prove that the defendant actually harmed you. You may be able to prove three of the four elements of negligence, but if you didn’t suffer any injury, harm, or loss, then you won’t be successful on your negligence claim. For example, if a driver speeds but doesn’t harm anyone, there is no negligence claim worth pursuing.

Typically, compensation for damages may include the following:

  • Medical treatment costs, 
  • Property damage,
  • Lost wages,
  • Physical pain and suffering, and
  • Mental and emotional suffering.

Money damages in a negligence case are meant to compensate the injured party for their losses.

StangerLaw LLC Can Help You with a Negligence Claim

As you can see, understanding and proving the four elements of negligence requires a deep and thorough knowledge of the law.

At StangerLaw LLC, we are experienced personal injury and legal malpractice advocates who’ve fought for injured parties in Connecticut negligence claims for over 40 years. Contact us online or call (860) 561-0651 today to learn more about negligence and how we can help with your claim.

Bruce Stanger

My litigation experience includes family law, divorce, product liability, construction law, professional negligence, shareholder disputes, legal malpractice, and general commercial litigation.