Legal Requirements for Proving Negligence Cases


Cullen McKinneypic

Cullen McKinney

Designated a Rising Star in the Detroit legal scene, attorney Cullen McKinney is a founding partner of Tanoury Nauts McKinney & Garbarino, where he focuses on medical malpractice. Cullen McKinney often deals with issues of negligence in his litigation.

The concept of negligence has five parts, each of which must be established to obtain a possible conviction:

– Duty. Ordinarily a judge will determine if a person is obligated to provide safe conditions, based on the expectation of a reasonable person. For example, someone unloading a truck in a public area could reasonably be expected to not injure a passerby with a falling object.

Breach of duty. The jury must determine if the accused violated these expectations of acting safely.

Cause in fact. This is also known as but-for causation. The prosecuting attorney must prove that but for the accused’s actions, an accident or injury would not have occurred.

Proximate cause. This describes what a person is and is not responsible for. Proximate cause cannot be proven if the defendant did not know or could not anticipate the possible results of his or her actions.

Damages. The prosecution must prove that actual harm, usually in the form of injury to a person or damage to property, resulted from the inaction of the accused. Simply establishing negligence is not sufficient.