After being in a car accident, you may feel quite confident that your case is an open and shut one. You got injured, so it must be the other driver’s fault that the accident happened and now you need to get the damages you deserve. However, even in what seems to be the clearest cases, the plaintiff still has to prove that negligence was present for their case to move forward and to receive compensation.
How can I go about proving negligence in a car accident claim?
In most cases, you must prove negligence in order to be entitled to recover compensation. To show that negligence was present, you must prove these elements:
A Duty of Care Existed
The person who is named in your lawsuit needs to have owed you a duty of care. This means that any driver on the road needs to act in a sensible way in order to ensure that those around them are not harmed. This is done by following all traffic signs, not driving over the speed limit, not drinking and driving, or performing any other action that will take their eyes off the road and make them unable to respond and react to the traffic around them in a reasonable way.
The Duty of Care Was Breached
Once you have established that a duty of care exists and that the other driver was responsible for your safety, you must also demonstrate how their actions or inactions resulted in a violation of that duty. To prove this, you must show that a reasonable person would have behaved differently under similar circumstances. The driver you are suing might have been texting while driving, driving while intoxicated, driving over the speed limit, tailgating, or expressing road rage, just to name some examples.
This Breach of Care Resulted in Injuries
Even if you can prove that the way the other party was driving was negligent, this alone might not have been what caused your injuries. It is vital to show that it was the way the negligent party acted that directly resulted in the injuries you suffered and in damages to your personal property. Things can get complicated at this stage since it could be that you were already dealing with an injury from a previous accident when this one took place. This is when the skills of a personal injury lawyer can become invaluable in your defense when you have to prove that this accident was the main reason why your injuries became worse.
The Breach Also Resulted in Financial Losses
If you want the other party to cover your losses, you and your lawyer must be very meticulous in proving how all the losses you are claiming are caused by the accident. You need to put together a comprehensive list of the damages you suffered, such as all the costs related to recovering from your injuries, and all those that you had to incur to repair your vehicle. You may also recover compensation for the wages you have been unable to earn by not working when you need to be taking care of your injuries. You may also claim pain and suffering and other non-economic damages which are harder to calculate but may also be present in your everyday life.
They Were Responsible for More than 50% for the Accident
Many cases rely on a system of modified comparative negligence. In short, this means that you can recover damages even in cases where you share some of the fault for the accident but damages will be reduced according to each party’s percentage of fault. This law dictates that you must be responsible for less than 50% of the accident in order to be eligible to receive any sort of payment for your personal injury claim. Otherwise, you may not be eligible to receive any payment.
How can a personal injury lawyer help you with your accident case?
Gathering evidence is key in proving any or all of the above elements. Some of it will be collected at the scene of the accident and, if you have not hired legal representation at that time, it will be up to you to take pictures of the vehicles, the road conditions, or anything that might have contributed to the crash. Your Lawrenceville personal injury lawyer may also get the police report, your medical records, interview any witnesses, and call upon accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to testify on your behalf. They will also get statements from the repair shop and interview your medical providers to determine the state of your injuries and when and to what extent they are expecting you to recover. By putting all this evidence together, they will build a strong case in your defense.