negligence simplified

When you have been in an auto accident legal terms are thrown about by insurance folks and lawyers. Terms such as “duty” and “negligence.” Legal definitions abound. For example, the definition of  duty of care in legalese is: “The obligation to conform to a certain standard of conduct for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm.”  Sure, clear as mud. Simplified (I hope), it means: Don’t inflict damage or harm carelessly on another. Negligence, on the other hand, is something an injured person or their lawyer must be able to prove in court. Three things are needed: 1) a duty of care must exist; 2) the duty has been breached (broken);  3) damage resulted from the breach. Use an auto accident for example. We all have a duty not to run into another car, especially one stopped at a stoplight. Breach that duty, run into the back of another car and cause damage and/or an injury and you are negligent.

Now all of the above is overly simplified to make a point: Lawyers often speak in legal language that is often not fully explained. Make sure your lawyer takes the time to explain the legal terms used in your case.

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Born in Tucson, Pat’s family has been in Arizona for six generations. He graduated from Catalina High School and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Arizona. After a stint in the USAF and the Air National Guard, Pat returned to the U of A and received his Juris Doctorate in 1977. Pat has practiced in many areas of the law, including Criminal, Family and Bankruptcy law. For the last 25 years he has focused on Business and Construction law as well as Personal Injury. Having tried many types of cases in both state and federal courts, Pat has a wide range of experience in litigating complex cases. For example, Pat has litigated construction matters before Arizona courts, Federal courts, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, and cases before several tribal courts. In 34 years of practice he has tried and presented hundreds of cases to both judge and jury. Pat is a past board member of the Arizona Trial Lawyers Association and Southern Arizona Legal Aid. He represents various contractors, subcontractors and suppliers; he is a member of the Alliance of Contracting Trades(ACT), Commercial Law League of America (CLLA) and has taught seminars on many legal subjects to various groups concerning Injury and Construction Law.