Home » Feature » Aligning the Pieces of the Legal Puzzle: 4 Elements of Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Claim

Aligning the Pieces of the Legal Puzzle: 4 Elements of Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Claim

Not only does a car accident cause physical pain to the affected party, but it also comes with intense financial pressures, for instance, the vehicle repair costs and huge hospital bills. The good thing is that with insurance, you are guaranteed of some sort of compensation depending on the scope of your cover. However, you need to be realistic about how much you expect to receive on your reimbursement claim. In a car accident case, a theory called ‘negligence’ is behind holding the company or individual legally responsible for any resulting harm to the injured party. What this means is that when someone acts recklessly causing an accident that leaves someone injured, they are legally liable for the resulting harm.

Car accident

There are certain things that you can do in order to ensure that you are not in a situation that jeopardizes your case. The first thing is to file a Personal Injury Lawsuit against the driver who is at fault. This means that you need to bring a Personal Injury Lawyer on board as it will ensure that you are well versed with exactly how much you are expecting as compensation, what could go wrong and what can be of help in your case. As a plaintiff, you must prove all the ‘elements’ of negligence were in play, thus the at-fault driver is fully liable for all the damages and expenses incurred. Visit this page to learn more on these elements and how to get in touch with an attorney to make it easier for you to win the case.

Let us look at some 4 basic elements that are used to prove that a car accident claim results from negligence:

  • Duty
  • Breach of Duty of Care
  • Causation
  • Damages

Having mentioned the above, let us look at each of these points to detail in order for us to have a full understanding of exactly what each entails.

Duty

This element seeks to find out whether or not the defendant owned any legal duty whatsoever to the plaintiff under the given circumstances. At the time of assessing a negligence claim, the first step is to find out whether there was any legal liability owed to the plaintiff. Sometimes, how both parties interact or relate may create a situation where one owes the other legal duty. An example is in healthcare; the doctor owes it to his or her patient to provide them with competent medical care. For motorists, they have a responsibility to operate a vehicle with a certain level of care and safety as such. This ensures that other drivers and their vehicles are not damaged while on the road. All drivers are expected to abide by traffic rules at all times. Such are traffic signs, turn signals and speed limits. If it is found out that the defendant was operating a car that was not roadworthy, then they are liable for the damages caused following negligence on their part.

Breach of Duty of Care

Proving that the at-fault driver owed the injured party duty of care is not enough; you need to prove that the defendant indeed breached the duty of care. The court gets to determine if the defendant breached their legal duty by way of acting or failing to act in a certain manner given the circumstances. The court seeks to find out if the defendant breached their duty by acting contrary to how a judiciously prudent individual would if they were in the same circumstances. Judiciously prudent simple means the legal standard in which a sane person would act in a certain situation. If a normal person would act differently than the defendant did following the accident or even prior to the accident, then he or she can be termed as negligent. If the driver failed to uphold their duty of care it is termed as a breach to which they are found negligent and liable for the injured party’s suffering. Motorists should be extra careful; even the slightest breach can lead to severe injuries to the other party and consequential losses to the defendant as they will have to pay for the losses suffered.

Causation

Did the defendant’s actions or lack thereof lead to the plaintiff’s injury? Here, the plaintiff is required to prove that the defendant’s negligent acts actually led to the injury. The injured party can only win the case if the negligent act directly led to the injury. It would be very unfair to sue a driver for something that happened across the street even though the driver was negligent in a way, for instance chatting on their phone. The incident across the street had nothing to do with him or her in the first place, thus charging them for this would not make sense at all. Another aspect to consider is whether or not the defendant could have rationally foreseen that his actions might cause an injury or accident at the time. If the accident resulted from say an unexpected natural phenomenon the defendant can be set free as the accident can be deemed unpredictable.

Damages

This final element basically states that the court should be in a position to compensate the injured party for the injury and damages incurred. This is usually through any monetary compensation for instance property repair or medical expenses.

Concluding Thoughts

When it comes to Negligence based car accidents there are certain damages that you can get compensated for. Such are: any medical bills including ongoing rehabilitation, pain and suffering e.g. emotional duress and loss of earnings in case the accident renders you redundant. Aggressive representation in court can increase a plaintiff’s chances of getting justified compensation. You can learn more and also maximize your chances of recovering these funds. Cases do vary and there is no particular formula of accurately estimating your success in recovering the expenses incurred as a result of the accident.

Leave a Reply