What Are Examples of “Negligence” In A Car Accident?
If you have been in a car accident and are considering whether to bring a lawsuit against the other party for negligence, it is important that you are able to prove that the other party acted in a negligent manner. This includes presenting evidence that demonstrates such negligence and how these negligent actions contributed to your injuries.
To begin with, negligence is defined as conduct or behavior that is careless or inattentive and, as a result, leads to injury. There does not have to be an intent to do the careless or inattentive act; most negligence actions are caused from errors or mistakes. In order to have a viable claim for negligence in a car accident case, you must be able to prove all of the following four elements:
- Duty of Care: Every driver owes a duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians at all times when operating a vehicle. This duty of care is based on a standard of what a reasonably prudent person would do under similar circumstances. Examples here include the duty to obey traffic laws, yield to other vehicles, and drive safely. The driver has the constant duty of care to follow these duties.
- Breach of Duty: If the driver fails to ensure an appropriate duty of care while operating a vehicle, that driver is considered to have breached their duty of care. If a driver runs a red light, they are breaching their duty of care to other drivers and pedestrians to operate their vehicle in a safe manner.
- Causation: If the driver’s breach of care caused the claimant’s injuries, the “causation” element of a negligence claim is satisfied. The claimant has the burden of proving that the driver’s behavior caused their injuries. For instance, if the driver runs the red light and crashes with another vehicle—which causes injury to the other driver—the negligent driver’s breach of duty caused the other driver’s injuries.
- Damage or Injury: The last element is damages or injuries. This means that the claimant must demonstrate that they suffered injuries from the negligence of the defendant. A typical method of proving this is by providing the costs associated with their injuries. For instance, the injured driver could show medical bills, hospital records, or proof of their inability to work as evidence of their injuries from the negligence of the defendant by running the red light.
Traffic and driving rules are regulated at the state level. Moreover, these rules can vary from state to state. However, there are certain standards that are expected of drivers in all states. The failure to follow these standards is considered a breach of the driver’s duty of care. Below are some examples of negligent driving behavior:
- Failing to obey traffic laws such as running red lights
- Speeding through streets
- Failing to yield to other vehicles when required to do so
- Violating the pedestrians’ right of way
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Making sudden stops and swerving while driving
- Operating the vehicle while mentally impaired or intoxicated
- Using a cell phone or texting while driving
- Failing to use turn signals or headlights and taillights
- Driving with poor visibility or in dangerous weather conditions
- Failing to heed traffic alert signs such as school zones or construction work
The above examples represent situations where the driver could be deemed negligent for their actions on the road. There are many more instances—too many to list—by which a driver could also be considered negligent in the eyes of the law. It is important for drivers to always ensure that they maintain an appropriate and constant duty of care on the road.