When you’re in car accident, there are several questions that arise. Am I OK?… What’s the damage to my vehicle?… How do I get it fixed?… What will my insurance cover?
These are all important questions, and they’re all related to who is at fault for the accident.
Even if you think it was nobody’s fault or you did something that might factor into the accident, you can’t be positive that the other driver wasn’t acting in some way that was the primary cause. Because of this, you may have a negligence claim for damages against the other driver.
Negligence in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Everyone who gets behind the wheel is required by law to exercise reasonable care. This obligation means that drivers must obey the traffic laws, use common sense, and be aware of their surroundings, to name just a few of their responsibilities. Whether it’s another car, a motorcycle, bike, or pedestrian, every driver has a duty of care for others on the road.
When a driver fails to abide by this duty and doesn’t exercise the appropriate level of care, he’s said to be in breach, or in violation, of the duty. If this breach is the proximate cause of the accident, that driver can be liable for damages.
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To determine if a driver was sufficiently careful, our courts look at his conduct compared to that of a “reasonable person.”In effect, they ask: How would a reasonable, prudent person have acted in the same situation?
If a driver’s actions don’t meet the standard of how a reasonable person would have acted, he’s violated the duty of reasonable care, which means he was driving negligently. Some examples of negligent driving may include:
- Failure to be alert behind the wheel;
- Failure to signal when turning;
- Improper use of high beam headlights;
- Not using caution in bad weather;
- Failure to repair or maintain the vehicle (such as driving with broken taillights, poor brakes, or bald tires); and
- Failure to control the vehicle (driving erratically, for example);
Proof of negligent driving can be demonstrated by running a red light, not noticing pedestrians in a crosswalk, speeding, or tailgating. One of the most common examples of negligent driving these days is distracted driving: texting while driving or talking on the phone.
In addition, our state imposed specific laws that govern behavior while operating a vehicle. Thus, a driver can be found negligent for violating those rules. If a driver violates the state’s motor vehicle law, it presents a presumption of negligence. That means the other driver must show that she wasn’t negligent—instead of the other way around where the injured person must show that the other driver was negligent.
Examples of conduct that may show a presumption of negligence include:
- Failure to obey traffic laws;
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and
There are many ways in which a driver of a motor vehicle can be found negligent and liable for damages in a car accident.
In the event that you’ve been hurt in a car accident, contact us for an immediate consultation and we will review your case. We will advise you of who can be sued and why they are responsible. Dansker & Aspromonte Associates has successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients involved in car accidents.