How to Prove Negligence in Your Car Accident Case
November 10th, 2015
Negligent Driver Accident Lawyers Serving Victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island
If you have been injured in a car accident and are seeking to pursue a claim for financial compensation, you are probably proceeding on the theory that someone else – most likely another driver – was at fault in causing the collision. There are other possibilities (for example, if your accident was caused by a vehicle defect), but the majority of auto accident claims center around proving that someone else’s poor decision or carelessness is to blame for your injuries and/or damages.
In legal terminology, this “fault” or “blame” is referred to as “negligence,” and it is essential to pursuing a successful claim. So, how do you prove that someone else was negligent in causing your accident?
Proving Negligence Following an Auto Accident
There are four basic requirements when seeking to prove someone else’s negligence in a car collision. These are: (1) that someone else owed you a duty, (2) that this duty was breached, (3) that the breach of duty was the cause of the accident, and (4) that you suffered actual harm as a result of the collision.
- You Were Owed a Duty
In auto accident cases, the duty element is typically going to be satisfied. All drivers owe a duty to exercise reasonable care on the road. They owe this duty to other drivers, motorcycle riders, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and others.
- A Duty Was Breached
In most cases, the first real hurdle will be showing that another driver breached this duty of reasonable care. Please note that not all auto accidents are caused by negligence. If you were hit but there was nothing the other driver could have done to avoid the collision, you may not have a claim for compensation.
However, there are many ways that drivers can breach their duty of care. These include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield
- Falling asleep behind the wheel
- Merging into oncoming traffic
- Running red lights and stop signs
These are just some of the most common examples. To find out if another driver breached their duty, you can hire an experienced attorney who will work with a team of experts to investigate what happened.
- The Breach Caused the Accident
Next, you need to establish that the other driver’s breach actually caused your collision. If you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver but the accident was 100 percent your fault, the fact that the other driver was intoxicated will not justify a claim for compensation. Massachusetts and Rhode Island both have laws that allow drivers to recover compensation even if they were partially at fault (though the laws in these states vary), so you will want to speak with an attorney before making any assumptions about whether you can seek a financial recovery.
- You Suffered Actual Harm
The final requirement is that you need to be able to show that you suffered physical, financial, or emotional harm as a result of the accident. For example, if you were badly injured and incurred medical bills, missed time from work, or experienced severe pain or suffering, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
To Find Out if You Have a Claim, Contact Bottaro Law Today
The Bottaro Law Firm is committed to providing skillful representation for auto accident victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. If you have been injured in an accident, you can contact us now to find out if you have a claim for financial compensation. Your initial consultation is completely free, and our No Fee Guarantee means that you pay us nothing unless we win your case.