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What Does Negligence Mean in a Car Accident Case?

In every car accident case, there is a fault party and a victim. The fault party is the person who created the event that led to the crash and owed the victim a duty of care. At the crux of the fault party’s action is negligence. 

Not everyone understands what negligence means or its impact in a car accident and other personal injury cases. This article looks at what negligence means in a car accident and the elements a victim must prove to get compensation. If you are a victim of a car accident, our Nashville auto accident lawyers can represent you. 

What Is the Meaning of Negligence? 

Negligence is an area of tort law and a critical factor in personal injury claims and lawsuits. It is a failure to exercise appropriate and ethical care expected to be exercised amongst specified circumstances. It goes beyond mere carelessness to a profound disregard for the safety of others. 

The law expects people to behave in a way that would not cause harm to others. It means that a car driver must exercise due care when on the road. Care here means obeying traffic rules and driving without the impairment of drugs or alcohol. It also means avoiding all forms of distracted driving. 

In a car accident, a negligent driver is responsible for the damages caused by the crash. The victim can hold them and their insurance carrier liable for economic and non-economic damages. Find out more about the liability of a fault party from our Nashville car accident lawyers.

What Are the Elements of Negligence? 

In a personal injury claim, it is not enough to allege negligence on the part of the fault party. The victim must show the four elements of negligence to prove the liability of the at-fault driver. These elements are a duty of care, breach, causation, and damages. 

Duty of Care

A duty of care is what drivers owe to their passengers and other road users. In the medical field, it is what doctors owe their patients. Upholding the duty of care means maintaining the “standard of care” required in a given situation. If a driver does an action below the standard, they are said to have acted negligently. 

For instance, Tennessee DUI laws bar drivers from driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or above. If a driver operates a vehicle with that much alcohol, they are in breach of this law. If an accident occurs while they are in that state, they would have failed to uphold the duty of care and behaved negligently. 

Breach of Duty

A breached duty exists when a person commits an act that injures another person. Here, the law looks at whether the action that led to the breach could have been foreseeable and avoidable. The law also looks at whether a reasonable person would have acted in the same way if in the same position. 

Thus, a driver who drives while impaired and causes an accident has breached the duty of care to other road users. It is the same for a driver who goes beyond the speed limit or fails to follow the rules of changing lanes. Once they fail the “reasonable man test,” the victim would have established negligence. 

Causation

Even if there were a breached duty, your injury claim would fail if you cannot show cause. Causation means that the breached duty is what led to your injuries. It means that you must link your injuries and property damage to the negligent act of the fault driver. 

Suppose you fell from the steps in your home and fractured your arm. On your way to the hospital, a drunk driver hits your car, but you did not suffer any injury. You can’t claim damages for the fractured arm, as it didn’t occur in the accident. In this case, the driver might have behaved negligently, but their action didn’t cause you any harm.

Damages

The last thing you need to prove is damages. Here, the law requires that you show the financial losses suffered from the accident to get compensation. So, in a minor accident where there is neither physical injury nor property damage, you cannot claim damages. 

Contact Nashville Car Accident Lawyers Today!

Every car accident is a result of someone’s negligence. If you are not the negligent party, you deserve to get compensated for your losses. Alone, you might be unable to prove the four elements of negligence. But with a Nashville auto accident attorney, the story is different. 

Our attorneys understand the doctrine of negligence and how to prove the four elements. Also, we will aggressively pursue your case until we get you the maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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