Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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What is Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Negligence in a car accident lawsuit refers to the legal theory under which the injured party can recover their losses.  Basically, negligence means that the responsible party acted in a way that disregarded their duty to drive safely on the road, resulting in injury to the plaintiff. 

Most car accident lawsuits are based on negligence, because negligence does not involve intentional acts by the defendant.  Since no one really intends to get into a car accident, there must be some way of legally proving which party is at fault.  Thus, negligence claims typical involve a complex analysis to determine whether the defendant failed to follow their duty of safety. 

How is Negligence Proven When it Comes to Car Accident Lawsuits?

In most jurisdictions, four legal elements must be satisfied in order to prove negligence in a car accident claim:

In most car accident lawsuits, the dispute revolves around causation.  That is, the defendant will typically argue that they did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries, or that the plaintiff was somehow responsible for their own injuries.  Another point of contention is whether the defendant actually breached their duty of care.

What are Some Examples of Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Some examples of negligent driving may include:

Drunk driving is considered highly dangerous, so much so that it usually isn’t classified under negligence laws.  Instead, drunk driving has its own category of laws (DUI or DWI laws).  Drunk driving is usually a criminal offense, unlike negligence, which is a civil violation. 

What are the Remedies for Negligence in a Car Accident Lawsuit?

In most car accident claims, the negligent party will have to pay the other party monetary damages for their injury and/or resulting economic losses.  These usually cover such costs as hospital bills, mechanic repair fees, and lost wages. 

In addition, the responsible party may have their driving privileges temporarily suspended.  In more serious cases or with repeat offenses, their driver’s license may be completely revoked.

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Being involved in a car accident can present several different legal challenges.  You may wish to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer if you need to file a car accident lawsuit.  Your attorney will be able to inform you of how the negligence laws work in your state.  Also, a lawyer can help represent you in trial during the court proceedings.

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Last Modified: 04-24-2012 11:18 AM PDT

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