The legal rules that determine who is responsible for the personal and property damage caused by a traffic collision are referred to as car accident law. This area of the law consists of negligence principles as they apply to this specific category of personal injury cases. Car accident litigation, like other cases involving negligence law, is almost entirely governed by state law.
Despite variations, car accident victims must demonstrate the same fundamental four elements in order to be entitled to compensation in every state. These components are duty, violation, cause, and harm. Drivers are bound by the law to drive safely and in accordance with the road rules while performing their duties. This entails driving at a safe speed, remaining in control, being alert, paying attention to traffic signs, using your headlights and blinkers, etc.
Most people accept the existence of duty without much debate. On the other hand, the plaintiff will typically need to provide proof that the defendant broke that duty. Direct evidence can be used to demonstrate a breach, such as eyewitness accounts, traffic surveillance footage, or an admission of guilt. Or, the plaintiff might have to rely on speculative evidence, like skid marks, paint smears, or blood alcohol levels.
The court will not automatically infer that the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by the defendant’s actions simply because the defendant had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a particular way and it has been demonstrated that the defendant violated that duty. The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff to establish causation. Medical testimony that demonstrates the injuries are consistent with the nature of the crash and that they did not exist prior to it can be used to accomplish this in car accident cases.
The plaintiff must also demonstrate harm. No matter how egregious the other driver’s actions were while operating a vehicle, the plaintiff cannot file a negligence claim unless the other driver’s actions resulted in injury to the plaintiff’s person or property. Cases of “near misses” won’t be accepted. Once harm has been established, the plaintiff may be entitled to financial support for things like lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical costs.