Negligence is a legal theory often used in car accidents, personal injury lawsuits and property damage claims. In the U.S., individuals are required to conduct themselves in such a way so as to avoid unreasonable risk or harm to others. When a person is negligent, they have failed to meet this standard and caused damage to another as a result.
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What is Negligence in the Motor Vehicle Context?
Under the law, all drivers must use reasonable care to avoid injuring other drivers, motorists, cyclists or pedestrians. Common negligence claims include accidents like running a red light, speeding, or failing to yield.
If you’re stopped at a red traffic light and the car behind you rear-ends your vehicle, they’re likely to be held liable for the damage to your vehicle as well as any injuries you may have suffered as a result. However, it isn’t always this easy to navigate a negligence claim.
There are four key elements to a negligence claim, which are important to understand. This will give you an idea of how the legal process works as well as prepare you for the conversation with your attorney.
The 4 Elements of a Negligence Claim
As mentioned, the person bringing the lawsuit must show that the defendant was negligent in their actions. If you were in a car accident recently, here are some common strategies for illustrating negligence:
1. Duty of Reasonable Care
The law requires drivers to be reasonably careful when operating their vehicle. Some examples of these provisions include driving at a reasonable speed, diligently observing traffic (defensive driving), maintaining proper control of the vehicle as well as maintaining the car’s equipment.
2. Violation of Reasonable Care
When looking for a breach in the duty of care, it’s helpful to ask, “How would a reasonable person have behaved in a same or similar situation?” This commonly includes precautionary actions like stopping at a red light, watching for crosswalk pedestrians or following the vehicle in front of you from a safe distance. If a driver has failed to conduct themselves in this manner, they have likely violated the duty of reasonable care.
3. Injury-Linked Conduct
In a negligence claim, you must connect the defendant’s violation of care was the cause of your injuries. In other words, you’d need to provide evidence that the injury was due to the car accident.
4. Suffered Losses
If a plaintiff suffered losses or injury, they may be entitled to compensation for medical rehabilitation, lost wages, pain and suffering as well as any property damage inflicted to the vehicle. If there aren’t any monetary losses or provable injuries, the plaintiff can’t recover compensation for these provisions.
Regardless whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant in a negligence claim, it’s wise to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. To learn more about injury or damage claims, reach out to a member of our team today at (405) 701-6376 to discuss your unique situation.
Wondering What to Do About Insurance?
In this free ebook, you’ll learn the best way to strengthen your case – both with insurance and before the court. You’ll also uncover the four most common property damage claims, what to do if you’ve suffered an injury as well as three records we recommend gathering after the accident. To download your free copy of the guide, click below!