Negligence often plays a significant part in many car accidents that occur throughout the state of Georgia and elsewhere in the country. Generally speaking, negligence occurs when an individual fails to use reasonable care. But what is reasonable care? Under the law, reasonable care involves the individual acting in a manner that a reasonably prudent person in the same circumstances would act.
In order to prove negligence in an automobile accident case, the harmed individual (also known as the plaintiff or the person filing the lawsuit) will need to demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the accused individual (also known as the defendant or the party being sued) acted in a negligent manner and caused the accident to occur.
Negligence: Four Elements Must Be Proven
In order to successfully show that an individual was negligent, the plaintiff must prove four elements. First, it must be shown that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to act reasonably or use reasonable care.
Of course, all drivers owe other drivers and vehicle occupants a duty to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle; so proving this element may not be a difficult task. But successfully demonstrating the next three elements is where working with skilled Duluth car wreck lawyers can prove to be invaluable.
Next, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached his or her duty in failing to use reasonable care. For instance, if a driver fails to drive a vehicle that is in proper working condition, or if he or she gets behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking prescription or illegal drugs, those actions may be viewed as a breach of duty to use reasonable care when driving.
A breach of duty can also consist of failing to stop at a stop sign, speeding or failing to signal when making a turn. Driver distraction might also be used to demonstrate the defendants breach.
The plaintiff must then show that the defendants breach caused the accident to take place. When discussing the cause of an accident, it is important to know that causation typically comes in two varieties: proximate cause and cause in fact.
Proximate cause (also known as but-for causation) simply means that the damage sustained would not have happened but for the breach — even if the breach was not a direct cause of the damages. Cause in fact means that the individuals breach of duty was the actual cause of the result experienced by the harmed party.
Lastly, the plaintiff will need to prove that he or she suffered property damage and/or personal harm due to the accident. Damages can include physical injuries or physical harm to your property, as well as monetary damages and pain and suffering.
The attorney handling your case will work diligently to ensure you obtain all the compensation to which you may be entitled for your medical bills (current and future), lost wages and even loss of future earnings, in certain cases.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, do not hesitate to contact McGahren, Gaskill & York as soon as possible to learn more about your legal rights and options.
DISCLAIMER: The information herein is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For any legal matters, we urge you to take the advice of an attorney familiar with your case.