By Elspeth Crawford
If you’re involved in a car accident, there’s a chance that you might file a personal injury lawsuit or that one could be filed against you. In order to win a personal injury lawsuit involving a vehicular accident, the plaintiff must show three things. First, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered actual harm. Usually, this will not be difficult. The plaintiff must simply identify their injuries. Second, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care but that the defendant breached this duty. Third, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the cause of the plaintiff’s harm.
Duties of Care
Drivers are required to use that degree of care as would a reasonably prudent driver acting in similar circumstances. The details of the duty of care change slightly depending on what kind of vehicle is being driven, who is driving it, and whether or not the vehicle is commercial. However, many basic rules remain the same. Drivers have the duty to:
In cases where an injury is clearly caused by a driver’s negligence, showing causation is easy. In cases where the origin of injuries is not so clear, it can be more difficult. There are a number of tests courts used to determine injury. They vary depending on the state and the situation.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
In order for a plaintiff to recover from a defendant in an automobile accident, the defendant must have acted negligently, that is, in violation of some duty of care. However, it is possible that the plaintiff also acted negligently and that the defendant is only partially, but not entirely, to blame for the accident. The doctrines of contributory and comparative negligence determine how to spread the blame when this occurs.