Proving Negligence After a Vehicle Accident

There are four elements to proving negligence after a vehicle accident. These elements are necessary for constructing your car accident claim. Victims have to prove the following in an accident case: 

  • Duty of care
  • Breach of that duty 
  • Causation
  • Damages

If you are the plaintiff in a negligent accident case, proving negligence can be the difference between having your damages covered or being left to deal with your post-accident expenses on your own. That’s why it’s advisable to work with an attorney if you’ve been in an accident. 

Consider working with personal injury lawyer Timothy J. Ryan. Each decision you make after your accident will affect the outcome of your claim. In a negligence case, who’s at fault may not always be so clear to a jury or a judge, and that’s where a personal injury attorney can provide support. Read on for more ways to prove negligence after a vehicle accident. 

What Is Negligence?

When you’re trying to recover compensation after an accident, your case will rely on your ability to prove the other driver’s negligence. If the other driver was speeding, following too closely, sending text messages while driving, or committing other traffic violations—especially when the driver was cited for the violation—you have evidence to support your claims of negligence.

Negligence can be defined as careless conduct that ends up causing harm to another person. A person can be negligent by doing something that they should not have done or by failing to do something that they should have done.

Each driver must use sensable care to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians. If a driver is not reasonably careful and someone is harmed as a result, the driver can be found liable in court for that person’s injuries and other losses.

Proving Negligence

If you’ve been a victim of a car accident, negligence will be important to determining fault for a car accident as part of the insurance claim process or in court. Plaintiffs must prove the defendant failed to act with reasonable care, the defendant did not use reasonable caution in all facets of vehicle operation, and the defendant breached or violated their duty of care.

When proving negligence, the law compares a driver’s conduct with the conduct expected of a “reasonable person.” If the defendant’s behavior falters in comparison to how a reasonable person would have acted under the same circumstances, the defendant has violated the duty of reasonable care. 

Legal Duties of Drivers

The law requires drivers to conduct themselves with reasonable care, but what exactly does that mean? Driving with reasonable care can mean:

  • Driving at a reasonable speed: Drivers have to drive at a reasonable, prudent speed in light of the existing traffic, road, visibility, and weather conditions. Sometimes, driving at the speed limit can be considered negligent if the circumstances warrant particular caution. 
  • Remaining vigilant: Drivers have to be alert and maintain a careful lookout for others. Drivers are expected to see things that an ordinary person would see. Failing to do so can constitute negligence.
  • Maintain control: Drivers are expected to keep their vehicles under control at all times. Negligence may be presumed when a car loses control for any reason
  • Ensure regular maintenance: Drivers have to maintain their vehicles in safe, working order. Failing to do so could lead to negligence.

Negligence and State Law

Each state’s motor vehicle laws determine how drivers are expected to conduct themselves on the road. In many cases, violating a motor vehicle law means you’re negligent. In that case, the defendant must present evidence to prove that he or she was not negligent.

The following conduct may give rise to a presumption of negligence:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Violating right-of-way rules
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Reckless endangerment 

Defenses Against Negligence in a Car Accident

Certain legal defenses can lower or disprove a defendant’s liability in a car accident case. Contributory and comparative negligence laws vary in each state but can affect the outcome of car accident cases. Car accident injury specialists suggest consulting with a personal injury attorney in your community about the defenses available in your claim.

Car Accident Claim Assistance

Many individuals feel they have to go at it alone when faced with an accident. They may feel they don’t have the financial resources or connections to find an attorney. Sometimes, it might make sense to handle your car accident claim yourself. 

In most cases, especially those involving crashes that result in significant injury or when fault is difficult to prove, having a vehicle accident attorney on your side can be crucial to securing maximum compensation.

Breaching a Duty of Care

Showing that a defendant breached their duty of care and that their actions specifically caused your injuries is a pivotal step in recovering losses in an accident. The court system needs proof of this loss to assess the validity of your case. 

Gathering your medical records and billing statements related to your injuries and financial hardships, as well as any repair bills for damage to your car, will be essential in recovering compensation for your damages. Damages worksheets provided by your attorney can help you track expenses for your injury claim.

It isn’t easy to show that the defendant was both the actual and proximate cause of your injuries. When it comes to actual causation, you’ll need to demonstrate that if it wasn’t for the defendant’s actions, you would not have been harmed. This is often referred to as the “but for” test. 

No matter how succinct the details of your case appear, you still have to demonstrate negligence to get compensation after a crash. The quality of your evidence is vital to winning your case. What you win will boil down to what you can prove and what you use to prove it.

Negligence in an Injury Claim

State laws generally provide a framework of what must be proved to recover compensation in an injury case. In every state, a driver who struck you owes you a duty of care, since all road users must obey local traffic ordinances and drive as safely as possible. 

If you are suing someone other than a driver, you must demonstrate that they owed you a duty of care. Next, you must show that their actions violated that duty. It is not enough to show that a driver was negligent, or even that a driver’s negligence caused an accident, but you must also prove that the negligent party’s actions directly caused your injuries and property losses. 

To recover damages in an accident, you must prove that the losses you suffered are related to the crash. Personal injury accident attorneys can help you gather evidence and have experience garnering damages for their injured claimants affected by the negligence of others. Consider contacting a personal injury attorney in your community today for a free consultation.

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