When it comes to personal injury cases, there are some terms that can often be confusing or unfamiliar to those who don’t use them regularly. Negligence, for example, is a term that is used in car accident cases to describe the careless manner in which a person has behaved that has caused direct harm to another individual.
Here are some examples of what negligent behavior can include:
- Failing to stop at a red traffic light
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Failing to stop at a yield sign
- Operating a motor vehicle at an unsafe speed (whether too fast or too slow)
- Operating a motor vehicle without maintaining proper control of it (swerving between lanes, braking too suddenly, etc.)
- Operating a motor vehicle while distracted (texting on a cell phone, watching a video, etc.)
- Stopping over the marked lines of a road at an intersection
- Not using the vehicle’s turn signal before turning
- Not using the vehicle’s hazard lights when necessary
- Not dimming high beam headlights
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- And many others
What Are the Different Components of a Negligence Claim?
When a person has been injured or harmed by another person’s negligence, a claim can be made against the defendant (the person who has been accused of negligence) in order for the plaintiff (the person who has become injured due to the other’s negligence). To win this type of case, there are several components that must be proven to show that the defendant is completely negligent. These include:
- Identifying Duty of Care – This step involves determining whether or not a duty is owed by the defendant to the plaintiff. But because every driver has a responsibility to operate their motor vehicles in a safe manner for other drivers, passengers, pedestrians and property, a duty of care would be owed by the person driving to the person harmed.
- Pinpointing Breach of Duty – This step involves deciding whether the defendant has breached this duty of care or not. It is determined by a jury based on the facts of the case. The defendant would be considered guilty of breaching their duty if he/she has failed to exercise reasonable care in fulfilling the duty.
- Determining Cause in Fact – This step involves the plaintiff proving that the defendant’s injuries have actually been directly caused by the defendant’s negligence.
- Proving Damages – This step involves the plaintiff proving that the defendant has caused some type of legally recognized harm to him- or herself. The defendant must be proven guilty not only of failing to provide reasonable care, but also that his/her actions have caused true damages to the plaintiff.
Legal terminology can be often be confusing for those who aren’t familiar with it. That’s why our personal injury attorneys are here to help answer your questions and define unknown terms for you after an accident. And, for even more helpful information, download our complimentary toolkit—How To Take Care of Yourself and Stay on Track After Your Car Accident—to learn more about Florida car accident laws, what materials you’ll need to have prepared for your lawyer, and many other ways to cope with the aftermath of a car accident.