An auto accident is a devastating event that causes serious injuries or even death. When someone else is responsible for causing your car accident, there are laws that allow you to receive compensation. In general, the key requirement in all car accident cases is establishing certain elements to prove negligence.
There are specific requirements for showing that someone was negligent or careless in a way that should make him or her legally culpable for damages. As an auto accident victim, it will be your burden to establish these elements to prove negligence in a legal case.
First and foremost, this means proving that the driver owed you a duty of care. Proving a duty of care is normally relatively straightforward, since all drivers on public roadways have a duty of acting safely toward other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others sharing the road, such as using a blinker when switching lanes or making a turn.
Once you prove a duty of care is owed, you must prove it was breached. Essentially, you must prove that the driver who caused the accident didn’t live up to the duty of care by driving recklessly or negligently, which caused you injury.
It’s also important to show that the negligence was the direct or proximate cause of the injury. For instance, you would need to prove that the negligence led to a car accident and resulted in injuries.
There are two ways of proving negligence after an auto accident claim: ordinary negligence and negligence per se. A lawyer may advise you to consider presenting both theories of negligence in your case in order to have the best chance of recovering compensation for your car accident.
Proving Ordinary Negligence in an Auto Accident Claim
Ordinary or common law negligence cases are based on the idea that a duty of care is owed by drivers to all other drivers, pedestrians, and bikers on the road. When this duty of care is breached, the driver is considered legally negligent.
The key, therefore, is determining whether the duty of care was breached. To do this, the behavior of the driver is compared to how a hypothetical reasonable driver would behave.
In other words, if a reasonable driver would’ve been more prudent, such as by paying more attention when driving, not speeding, or yielding the right of way, then the driver in question can be said to have breached the duty of care. The driver would be negligent in this case and held responsible for damages.
Proving Negligence Per Se in an Auto Accident Claim
Negligence per se is a doctrine that says that someone is assumed to be negligent when he or she violates a safety rule. For instance, speed limit laws were passed to ensure that the roads are safe. A driver who breaks the speed limit laws is behaving in a negligent and unsafe manner.
When the negligence per se legal theory is used, you don’t need to prove the other driver was negligent. It’s enough to prove that the safety law was broken and because the law was broken it caused you injury. A traffic citation and police report can be instrumental in proving the other driver’s violation.
Get Help Establishing the Elements to Prove Negligence
Proving negligence can be a legally complex process and you should have appropriate evidence to prove your case. There is no reason to risk losing your due compensation because of hiring an inadequate attorney. An attorney at the Law Office of Julie Johnson can assist you in determining what legal theory to use for your case and how to prove negligence under the law. Contact the Law Office of Julie Johnson for help with your case.