Whether you’ve been accused of negligence in a car accident or you believe that the other driver may have been negligent, determining fault isn’t an easy process. Many variables can change the outcome of a car accident or personal injury case. Factors that lead to an accident are rarely straightforward and can often be misinterpreted, especially if either party lacks a thorough understanding of what negligence is and how it is assessed.
This is easily the most important element in determining fault in a car accident. Duty of care refers to the fact that all drivers, regardless of the vehicle they drive, have a duty to drive safely and pay attention to the rules of the road. That means no speeding, no drinking and driving, and no driving a vehicle in any other unsafe manner. It also means that drivers must keep their vehicles in safe operating condition at all times.
If a driver fails to uphold his or her duty of care, such as by speeding or running a red light, that individual is likely to be found responsible for a large portion of the accident’s fault.
Causation and damages refer to whether a judge can easily identify that someone’s action (or lack thereof) directly resulted in the damages for which another party is demanding compensation. Justice officials typically break causation and damages up into two forms: cause-in-fact and proximate cause.
Cause-in-fact refers to a situation where a direct failure in the duty of care results in harm or loss (e.g., drinking and driving that leads to a crash). The second, proximate care, indicates that while the failure may not have directly caused harm, it did do so indirectly. Here’s an example:
Vehicle A runs a red light
That vehicle collides with Vehicle B
Vehicle B comes to a stop directly in the path of Vehicle C
The impact between Vehicle B and Vehicle C causes harm to both drivers
Because Vehicle B and Vehicle C would most likely never have come into contact if Vehicle A hadn’t run a red light, he or she is likely to be named responsible for the second collision.
If you have been injured in a car accident or have questions regarding negligence, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Colley & Colley, LLP can help. Contact us at us at 1-877-411-2001 or through our website to arrange a time to meet for a free consultation.