How Do You Prove Negligence in a Car Accident?
In California and in every other state, an injured car accident victim can recover damages from a negligent driver by proving that the driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care, that the driver did not adhere to that duty, that the driver’s failure caused the accident, and that the accident led to property losses and injuries.
In theory, showing negligence under these guidelines might seem to be a straightforward process, but in practice, that proof requires a detailed presentation of the chain of events surrounding the accident and the scope of the losses and injuries suffered by the accident victim. The Los Angeles car accident attorneys at Ellis Injury Law have represented hundreds of southern California residents in car accident lawsuits, and have recovered millions of dollars in damages to compensate for their losses and injuries.
How can you show that another driver owed a duty to exercise reasonable care and that the driver breached that duty?
Every person that operates a car or truck is obligated by standard rules of the road to drive in a manner that will not hurt someone else. Examples of unsafe operation include:
- speeding or driving too fast for prevailing weather or traffic conditions
- texting or generally not paying attention to other drivers
- turning into oncoming traffic in violation of traffic laws
- tailgating, or “brake checking” in front of another vehicle
- failing to maintain a vehicle properly such that the vehicle is not inherently dangerous
Police or local traffic enforcement authorities will frequently issue citations to the driver that causes an accident. Car accident lawyers will use those citations in car accident negligence lawsuits to prove the other driver’s negligence. If the other driver did not receive a traffic citation, the attorney will rely on witness testimony and other physical evidence from the accident to assess blame and liability.
How can you demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident?
In most cases, the connection between a driver’s negligence and the cause of a vehicle collision is relatively straightforward. The simplest analysis is to inquire whether the accident would not have occurred but for the other driver’s breach of a duty of care.
In addition to proving the actual cause of a car accident, the injured driver must also show that the other driver’s negligence was the proximate cause of his or her property losses and injuries. Proximate cause generally refers to the foreseeability of injuries and losses due to negligence. For example, a negligent driver that is looking at a phone or fiddling with radio controls can foresee that not paying attention to other cars and traffic conditions is likely to cause an accident.
How can you prove property losses and injuries?
Negligent drivers and the automobile insurance companies that cover their liability will only reimburse property losses and injuries that are supported by objective proof. Many insurers will, at first, only offer to reimburse an injured party’s medical bills and hospital expenses incurred in the immediate aftermath of an accident. A knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney will reject that minimal offer and argue for full reimbursement of:
- past and anticipated future medical expenses associated with a party’s injuries
- the wages and salary that an injured party lost as a result of not being able to work due to his or her injuries
- expenses associated with transportation to and from medical appointments, and occupational and rehabilitative therapy
the accident victim’s pain and suffering.
An injured car accident victim should retain all medical bills, pay stubs, and receipts for expenses incurred following an accident, as those materials will be evidence of the victim’s actual losses.
Call Ellis Injury Law in Los Angeles when another driver’s negligence caused your car accident
Your priority after a Southern California car accident should always be to get the medical treatment you need for your injuries. After that, you should call Ellis Injury Law to consult with a car accident attorney about how that attorney can help you to prove the other party’s negligence in a car accident lawsuit. That proof is a necessary step toward recovering the largest damages award that may be available to compensate you for your injuries and property losses.