Negligence and Tort Law in an Auto Accident

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Negligence, which essentially means failure to exercise a standard level of care, plays an important role in determining fault in tort law cases stemming from automobile accidents. In the course of auto accident lawsuits, negligence is claimed as the basis of personal injury suits for injuries sustained in car accidents by drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.  In general, specific laws regarding the nature of negligence in car accidents depends on the specific laws and statutes of the jurisdiction of where the accident occurred, and only speaking with an experienced auto accident attorney in your local area can identify your legal rights following an auto accident.  However, the remainder of this article will attempt to identify the role negligence plays in regards to civil suits from an auto accident.

Proximate Cause 

Though in any given accident, a plaintiff’s injuries may have occurred during the course of a defendant’s negligent actions, these negligent actions must be proven to be the “proximate cause” the damages, or injuries, incurred by a plaintiff.  In order for a defendant to be held liable in the court of law for damage awards to a plaintiff, the actions of defendant must be proven negligent and a proximate cause of the injuries of the plaintiff in the civil courts.

In order to prove an action was negligent, the plaintiff is required to prove the following items by a preponderance of the evidence in civil cases following an auto accident. 

These elements of a negligent action include:

  1. Defendant owed legal duty to general public, other drivers, and plaintiff while on the road
  2. Defendants clearly violated this duty to the plaintiff
  3. Defendant’s violation of duty owed caused plaintiff to be injured or receive some damages
If you have been involved in an auto accident and may need legal assistance, consult with an Auto Accident Attorney in your area for a free case review to explore your legal options.

Differing Forms of Negligence in Auto Accidents

The aforementioned paragraphs offer information regarding ordinary negligence, however, in other circumstances; there are other forms of negligence, which may be presented in a civil trial. 

Partial lists of these forms of negligence include:

  • Gross, wanton, or reckless negligence
  • Negligence with children or minors present
  • Comparative negligence
  • Contributory negligence
  • Vicarious liability

With these forms of differing types of negligence, there are a number of different legal options which may be pursued.  In instances of car accidents involving gross negligence, criminal charges may follow an accident, as well as room for punitive damage awards in extreme cases of wanton or borderline criminal acts while on the road.  As is the case with many car accidents, both parties can be held partially at fault for the accident.  In these cases, comparative negligence would prove applicable, and the damages awarded to a plaintiff would be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s own misdoings leading to their injuries and other damages. Vicarious liability, a version of negligence in itself, is generally reserved for situations involving drivers of automobiles or other means of conveyance that are under the direct act of employment for another entity or company through an employee and employer relationship.

If you have been involved in an auto accident and may need legal assistance, consult with an Auto Accident Attorney in your area for a free case review to explore your legal options.
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