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What is negligence?

Posted on in Personal Injury

Many personal injury claims filed following a car accident are based on negligence. If a driver is negligent, that means that he or she failed to exercise reasonable care toward other people on the roadways when operating their vehicle.

Proving negligence requires you to establish these four elements:

  • Duty – All motorists have a legal duty to other drivers and parties on the roadways to operate their vehicles in accordance with the law act responsibly behind the wheel.
  • Breach of duty – When a driver fails to adhere to traffic laws or drives recklessly, he or she has breached the duty owed to others.
  • Causation – The driver’s negligence must have directly and proximately caused the accident and the victim’s injuries and damages.
  • Damages – The victim must have suffered injuries and damages as a result of the accident

Common forms of driver negligence

If you have been in a car accident that you did not cause, it is likely that the other driver broke one or more traffic laws. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence include:

  • Following too closely behind another vehicle
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way at an intersection
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Driving at an excessive rate of speed
  • Failing to pay attention or driving while distracted
  • Driving while impaired

Presenting police reports, witness testimony, photos of the scene of the accident, and expert testimony can help prove that the other driver was negligent.

What if I was also negligent?

Many accident victims mistakenly think that if they were partially at fault for the collision, they cannot recover damages. However, this is not the case in Michigan. Michgian follows the theory of “comparative negligence,” meaning that a driver can still recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. The amount of damages they will receive will be reduced proportionately to their percentage of negligence. For instance, if a driver was 20 percent liable for their own injuries, they will recover $80,000 out of $100,000 in damages.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence can be challenging. An attorney in your area can help compile evidence and come up with a strategy to give you the best chance at winning your case.

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