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Oakland Personal Injury > Blog > Personal Injury > The Definition of Negligence Under California Personal Injury Laws

The Definition of Negligence Under California Personal Injury Laws


If you do not have a legal background, you probably associate the work “negligence” with its everyday meaning under the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition: A failure to act with the same care that a reasonably prudent person would, when given the same set of circumstances. For example, you might be considered negligent if you leave the fence gate ajar and your dog gets out. Most other individuals would have secured the door to keep a pet inside.

In the practice of law, however, negligence has a much more specific, meticulous definition. It is important to understand the basic legal concepts if you were hurt in an accident that was not your fault, even though you can rely on your Oakland accident lawyer for the details.

Elements of a Negligence Based Case: There is no statute in California that lays out what you must prove to prevail in a personal injury case; instead, the elements of a negligence claim come from decades of cases decided by the US Supreme Court and appellate courts down to the state civil system. To recover compensation, you must establish four sets of facts:

  1. The responsible party had a duty to exercise reasonable care when acting, so as to avoid creating a risk of harm to others
  2. That person or business breached the legal duty of care by engaging in careless or reckless acts
  3. The breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident in which you were injured
  4. You suffered physical, financial, and emotional losses because of your injuries

Note that negligence is also a factor regarding your own actions. If you engaged in careless misconduct that contributed to your injuries, your compensation may be reduced. 

Negligence is the Basis for Most California Accident Claims: The concept of negligence applies to a wide range of actions, relationships, and conduct, so it will likely be the basis of your case if you or a loved one was hurt due to:

  • A motor vehicle crash, including collisions involving passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks, semis, and other commercial vehicles
  • Other traffic-related incidents, such as pedestrian and bicycle accidents caused by motorized vehicles
  • A slip and fall or other accident on property caused by the owner’s failure to maintain a safe premises
  • Conduct related to nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Medical mistakes, misdiagnosis, surgical errors, and other forms of medical malpractice
  • A dog bite or animal attack
  • Any of the above accidents that led to wrongful death

Our Oakland Personal Injury Attorneys Will Handle Negligence Issues 

Understanding basic negligence concepts can help you protect your own interests, but you will need experienced legal counsel to assist with the details. Our team at Venardi Zurada, LLP is prepared to advocate on your behalf in filing an insurance claim, but we are ready to fight for you in court. For more information about our legal services, please contact our offices in Oakland, Orinda, or Redding, CA. We can schedule a complimentary case evaluation to review your circumstances and discuss strategy for your personal injury case.

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You can be confident in relying on our zealous and effective Oakland personal injury lawyers:

  • We have served Northern California for over 35 years.

  • Our attorneys have been honored with numerous accolades, including SuperLawyers, AV Rating, and Top 100 Trial Attorney Awards.

  • In our decades of legal service to the community, we have garnered a substantial reputation. We are respected by opposing counsel, feared by insurance companies, and followed by jurors.

  • We combine Big Firm experience with boutique office attention and care. Several of our attorneys have experience working for the biggest law firms in the country, including the most prominent maritime defense law firm. Our attorneys rely on that big-firm know-how but prefer the personal touch of a smaller firm, allowing us to provide individualized and attentive representation to each of our clients.

  • We’ve been through it, too. Attorney Mark Venardi had to personally deal with a medical malpractice injury he suffered at a time when he was working a blue-collar job on an offshore oil rig; he knows what it’s like to be a working man dealing with a personal injury. He built his way up to working for the biggest maritime defense firm in the country, before deciding to focus on helping people like himself who were hurt by negligence and mistreatment from others.

  • We like to fight for the underdog. Attorney Martin Zurada is an immigrant and the son of immigrants who tirelessly worked his way up through education and experience to attain the American dream. Even though he has served in large, high-level litigation law firms, he prefers helping clients directly, fighting against injustices, and securing victories for the little guy who has been wronged.

  • We win. We have secured multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. In our combined tenure, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients across our broad areas of practice.

  • We care first and foremost about our clients. We dedicate ourselves to serve each and every client personally, and we make ourselves available to our clients around the clock.

  • There is no cost to you until we win. If we don’t make a recovery for you, we will not collect a fee. And all initial consultations are free of charge.

Dedicated Areas of Practice

We offer a wide range of litigation services for Oakland personal injury and employment law clients. Specifically, our areas of dedicated practice span the following issues:

Employment Law. California employers must assure proper pay to employees and comply with a variety of rules and regulations to prevent discrimination and unfair treatment of employees. We represent victims of wage and hour violations, employment discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and any other form of California workplace mistreatment. If you believe you were treated inappropriately at work, we can help.

Personal Injury. If you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence, you deserve compensation. That’s where we come in. As Oakland personal injury attorneys, we right the wrongs done to our clients. And we do it at our cost during the entire duration of your case. There is never any fee until we win. Give us a call if you have been hurt in a car accident, by a toxic spill or contamination, as a result of medical malpractice, due to abuse or neglect, in a maritime accident, by a vicious animal attack, or any other incident caused by someone else’s negligence.

The Sooner You Speak to an Oakland Injury Lawyer, the Stronger Your Chances for Recovery Will Become.

Contact the Oakland injury lawyers at Venardi Zurada today, and let’s get started. We are available to talk any time, so whether you call, email or chat online, we’ll respond and set up an appointment to meet you. We have several Spanish speakers in the office and welcome the opportunity to cater our services to Oakland’s Spanish-speaking population. You pay no fee until we win for you, so you have nothing to lose by contacting our office for a free consultation. The sooner you call, the faster we can start getting results for you. Call 925-937-3900.

Location1 OAKLAND

1418 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA 94612
PH: 510-832-4295 PH: 510-832-4298 (Español)
FX: 510-832-4364

Location2 ORINDA

25 Orinda Way, Suite 250, Orinda, CA 94563
PH: 925-937-3900 PH: 510-832-4298 (Español)
FX: 925-937-3905

Location3 REDDING

1650 Oregon Street, Suite 201, Redding, CA 96001
PH: 530-830-3473 PH: 510-832-4298 (Español)