Whenever an individual has suffered injuries in an auto accident caused by a separate party, he or she will almost surely be faced with numerous expenses after the incident. The severity may vary, but this will include both property damages and medical costs for the most part. The most effective way to recoup these expenses is through a personal injury lawsuit, but in order to have a successful case, you will need to prove that the at-fault party acted negligently, which then caused your injuries. Unfortunately, simple here-say is not enough to actually recoup damages.
Before we talk more about how fault is defined and proved, we must mention that all personal injury cases will require the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure the highest chance of success. These cases are tricky enough to navigate for professionals, let alone someone with no experience. There are certainly steps you can take to improve your outlook, such as fulfilling your treatment plan and staying out of harm’s way, but for the most part, the best thing you can do for yourself is to find a good attorney. Luckily for accident victims, that search ends with Van Law Firm–our award-winning team has been defending victims’ rights for nearly a decade, and our 5-star rating across all platforms is proof of our commitment to excellence. Call our office nearest you today for a free consultation.
What Do Courts Mean by “Negligence”?
The legal concept of negligence varies greatly from state to state, but generally speaking, it applies whenever an individual behaves in such a way that is excessively reckless or malicious in a given situation. So, in the case of auto accidents, this would include driving under the influence, distracted driving, ignoring traffic signals, and all other forms of reckless driving. There are a myriad of different personal injury claims, but they all must clear this negligence barrier to be successful.
The Elements Needed to Prove Negligence
Proving negligence is a three-part process, and all three elements must be met in order for the claim to be successful. The claimant (plaintiff) must prove that: 1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a certain amount of courtesy and consideration (also known as a ‘duty of care’), 2) the defendant’s actions breached that duty of care which caused injury to the plaintiff, and 3) the plaintiff suffered demonstrable damages as a result of this breach.
- Duty of care: this represents the “standard” behavior that is expected by law. In this case, drivers owe each other a duty of care by following the proper traffic signals and rules.
- Breach of care: this indicates that the defendant’s behavior was not reasonable or acceptable for a given situation. For car accidents, this would be any drunk or distracted driving, or a violation of traffic laws such as speeding or failure to yield. The plaintiff’s injuries must have resulted directly from this behavior.
- Damages: the last element of negligence is proof of damages resulting from the incident. This includes medical expenses, car repairs, lost wages, as well as emotional or psychological suffering.
Sometimes auto accident cases can get very tricky due to the fact that both parties can be considered at fault (this also varies by state). For example, you might have gotten T-boned by a driver running a red light, but if video footage shows that you were distracted by your phone at the time of the accident, the court may rule that you were partly at fault for not being able to fully avoid the collision. This will affect your end settlement, but it shouldn’t deter you from rightfully filing a claim. If anything, it just highlights the importance of having honest communication with your attorney, so that you know what to expect throughout the case.
Contact Trusted Car Accident Attorneys Today
Even in seemingly minor cases, successfully proving fault is not an easy task. That is why it is important to contact experienced car accident attorneys as quickly as possible, in order to get a head start on the process. The award-winning team from Van Law Firm is standing by around the clock, ready to help when disaster strikes–the only thing you need to do is give us the details and focus on getting better, and we’ll handle the rest. Call our office nearest you today for more information.