Car Accidents Caused by Negligence
When it comes to proving fault for an auto accident, chances are that both drivers, their insurance companies, their lawyers, and the court will all rely on the legal concept called "negligence." Negligence means that someone failed to act reasonably under the circumstances, and that failure caused harm. For example, if you're driving your car down the road when another driver runs a red light and hits you head-on, you could argue that the other driver was negligent because he should have stopped at the red light. If the other driver's insurance company counters that you were also negligent, they may try to show that you should have stopped at the stop sign instead of running through the intersection.
A negligence claim requires proof that the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused your injury. Negligence claims are usually brought against drivers because they are responsible for all accidents involving vehicles. However, if someone else is at fault, then they could also be held liable. For example, if a car hits another vehicle while both cars are traveling at high speeds, then the driver of the first car may be found liable for causing an accident even though he wasn't the one driving. If a pedestrian walks out onto a highway and gets hit by a car, then the driver of that car may be found liable.What Is Negligence?
Negligent acts are those that cause harm to others through carelessness. Negligence is often referred to as "careless" because it involves failure to act with due care. Carelessness can occur when someone fails to exercise reasonable care, or when someone does not exercise ordinary care. For example, if you fail to stop at a stop sign, you could be negligent. If you drive your car recklessly, you could also be negligent. Negligence may involve an intentional act, such as intentionally shooting someone, or it may involve an unintentional act, such as accidentally hitting someone with your car.Proving a Driver's Negligence
If you were injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation through your own negligence lawsuit. You must prove that the other driver was negligent, meaning he or she failed to exercise reasonable care when driving his or her vehicle. Negligence usually comes into play when there is a dispute about what caused the accident. If you can show that the other driver was at fault, then you should be compensated for your injuries.
The defendant did not act carefully enough. This is called “breaching” (or violating) the legal duty of care. When deciding if someone breached a duty of care, courts compare the person's actions to what a reasonable person would have done in similar situations. For example, if a driver fails to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, he or she may have breached the duty of care. Mary is suing Don because he rear-ended her car, causing her neck injury. She will need to prove that his actions were the cause of her injury, not something else. For example, if Mary hurt her neck the week before the collision while playing tennis, she may struggle to establish that Don's actions caused her injury.
If Mary suffers no physical injury, misses no work time because of the car accident, and her car sustained no damage, she cannot sue Don for damages. She can still sue him for negligence though. Negligence occurs when someone fails to act reasonably under the circumstances. A negligent driver could fail to yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle or fail to keep a proper lookout.What Legal Duties Does a Driver Have?
Drivers must exercise reasonable care when driving. Reasonable care means using your best judgment about the situation and acting reasonably under all circumstances. For example, if you're driving down a dark street late at night, you may need to slow down because there could be other cars parked along the side of the road. If you see a car coming toward you, you should stop before hitting it. You also have a responsibility not to put yourself or others in danger. For example, if someone is walking across a busy intersection, you might need to wait until he or she gets out of the way.
Drivers must always be vigilant and keep a proper lookout for other drivers, pedestrians, and road conditions. They should not drive while distracted, sleepy, or impaired. If they lose control of their vehicle, they must immediately stop and report the accident.
Drivers are expected to maintain their cars in safe working order. The lights and brakes should be working correctly. If you violate any of the regulations listed below, your car will likely break down and you could get into an accident.
Examples of behavior that may result in disciplinary action include: driving while intoxicated, speeding, failing to yield the right of way, running red lights or stop signs, and failure to obey traffic laws.Defenses to Negligence In a Car Accident Case
In certain cases, the defendant may be able to reduce or even eliminate his/her liability by arguing that he/she was not negligent. For example, if the driver was speeding at the time of the crash, then the driver could argue that he/she did not cause the accident because he/she was driving too fast. If the driver had a valid license and insurance, then the driver could also argue that he/she was acting within the law when driving.Getting Help With a Car Accident Case
If you're ever injured in an auto accident, it's important to hire a personal injury attorney. A lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, will be able to guide you through the claims process and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. You'll also benefit from having someone working on your behalf who knows what insurance companies are likely to offer and how to negotiate those offers. Contact us today for a free consultation.