Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit

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Negligence is one of the most common causes of car accidents in the US. Being negligent means that the person was not careful enough while on the road or behaved in a thoughtless manner, which caused injury to another person. It could be anything that the driver should not have done, such as speeding or running a red light, or something that the driver should have done but failed to do, such as not stopping for a pedestrian or not turning on the lights when driving at nighttime. Legally, all car drivers are required to take all the care necessary to avoid injuring another motorist, passenger, or pedestrian. So, if you ever get injured in a car accident, you may consult a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation from the guilty party on the basis of negligence.

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit

When you file a lawsuit for a car accident, you are required to prove the negligence of the defendant by using all the evidence possible. Generally, you would have to show in court that the defendant was required by law to be reasonably careful and that the defendant failed to perform or ignored his/her duty of reasonable care. Your lawyer might also have to state in court how a reasonable person would have behaved in the same situation or under similar circumstances. If the court finds out that the defendant’s conduct was not prudent and practical, he/she is said to have violated the duty of reasonable care.

You would also need to prove that the carelessness of the defendant caused your injuries. For instance, if you are claiming compensation for whiplash that you suffered because the defendant rear-ended your car, you must prove that the injury happened due to the rear collision and not because of any other incident. Similarly, you would also need to prove the monetary damages that you had to bear as a result of the accident. You can file a car accident lawsuit to claim compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, as well as property damage, but you would have to show evidence of the damages to get a favorable judgment.

Note that if there are no provable injuries or damages, you cannot recover anything by filing a lawsuit. That is why expert personal injury lawyers recommend documenting all the injuries you sustained in the accident, the medical expenses it caused, and all the details of the property damage. This would come handy to prove your case as well as when negotiating with the guilty party or their insurance provider.

Duty of Reasonable Care

The law requires all car drivers to follow strict rules to avoid injuring another person on the road. Below are some of the common requirements that the law imposes on drivers. If a driver fails to meet any of these specific requirements, he/she may be found negligent.

  • Always drive at a reasonable speed: A driver may be found negligent if he/she drives at an irrational speed with respect to the traffic, road conditions, visibility, and/or climate. In some cases, even if the driver was driving the car below the specified speed limit, he/she may be found negligent if the visibility was low, the weather was bad, or the circumstances demanded particular caution, such as when driving by a school.
  • Always be vigilant when on the road: A driver may be found negligent if he/she fails to maintain awareness and does not carefully watch out for other motorists, vehicles, pedestrians, and/or hazards. All drivers are required to keep a proper lookout when on the road, so failing to take note of road signs and driving carelessly when passing by a pedestrian crossing or a road construction site can be considered negligent.
  • Always maintain control of the car: A driver may be found negligent if he/she is not maneuvering the car as it is expected from a reasonable person. All drivers are required by law to keep their car under control, such as being able to stop it quickly, and not overturn or leave the road without any apparent reason. Similarly, all drivers are required to maintain the car in a safe working condition also. For instance, the brakes and turn signals should be working properly.

Note that every state has its own motor vehicle laws to govern how drivers should act when on the road. For instance, most states in the US would consider it negligence if the driver were found to be driving the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs if he/she violated the right-of-way rules in the state, and if he/she drove the car on the wrong side of the road. In some cases though, the defendant may present evidence to prove that he/she was not negligent to lower the liability or totally erase it. That is why seeking the help of an expert lawyer is very important in car accident lawsuits to get the right compensation.

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