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The elements of negligence in a motor vehicle accident case

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accident often happen when a person stops paying attention to their driving and allows distractions to take control of their focus. Alabama residents may have seen other drivers looking at their phones, checking maps, or even eating meals while operating their motor vehicles. These distractions, and many others, cause drivers to make dangerous mistakes that lead to accidents.

When a driver allows a distraction to control their driving safety, they may be negligent. Negligence is a legal term that refers to the failure of a person to meet their duty of care to others. This post will discuss the elements of negligence and how they may manifest in a car accident lawsuit.

Duty, breach of duty, and reasonableness in a motor vehicle accident case

In any given situation, a person may have different duties of care to others. When on the road, they are required to act reasonably given their situation. Their duty to others is reasonableness in the context of their driving experience.

When drivers let distractions influence how they operate, they are not reasonable and effectively breach their duty of care to others. Reasonable drivers do not prioritize text messaging over watching the road for other vehicles and distractions, for example. During a car accident lawsuit, a court may evaluate if a responsible driver’s actions were reasonable given the facts surrounding the accident event and if they were not, may find that the responsible driver breached their duty of care.

Causation and damages

Causation is an important element in a motor vehicle accident claim. Even if a driver breaches their duty of care to others, they may not be the cause of the accident that harms the victim. Not every texting driver causes a vehicle accident, and while their actions may be negligent, their failure to cause injuries and losses to other precludes them from being found negligent.

Causation establishes the link between a responsible party’s actions and a victim’s losses. Losses, called damages, are the financial, emotional, and personal costs a victim loses due to their victimization. Negligent parties can be ordered to pay their victims damages to make them whole.

This overview of negligence in car accident claims is not legal advice. All readers with questions about personal injury or motor vehicle accident litigation can contact their trusted lawyers for advice.