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4 elements of negligence in a car accident case

Building any kind of personal injury claim, including a car crash case, requires a strong legal foundation. In auto accidents, this foundation focuses on negligence and the four legal elements of it:

  1. Duty of care
  2. Breach of that duty
  3. An injury occurs
  4. The breach of duty of care caused the injury

If you can prove these elements without question, you have a strong personal injury case. These elements are worth examining in more detail.

Duty: Every driver must exercise reasonable care toward the other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians on the road, which includes abiding by the speed limit and right-of-way laws, among others.  That is part of having a driver’s license – one must abide by the rules that govern the operation of a motor vehicle.

Breach: If a motorist acts outside the law and puts other drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians in danger, he or she has breached the duty of care implicit in driving. This means that your lawyer must show that the at-fault driver is, in fact, at fault – that he or she broke a driving law.

Injury: This breach of duty has to have also caused an injury for negligence to exist. So if a driver simply ran a red light and no one was hurt, there are no grounds for a lawsuit. An injury must be present, and often only a significant injury warrants the filing of a legal claim.

Cause: Often where the auto accident case hinges, your attorney must prove that the other driver’s breach of care caused your injury; that no other aspect of your behavior or environmental factors or preexisting conditions explain your injury.

If you’d like to learn more about whether negligence was a factor in the injury you sustained during an auto accident, speak with Steven P. Roberts, Personal Injury Attorney.