If you are planning to file a personal injury lawsuit, it’s likely because you believe that the other person was negligent or careless and that their action led to your damages. A successful personal injury claim will help you get compensation for every expense you’ve incurred to treat or fix an injury or damage arising from the accident.
Understanding the duty of care
Each time a person goes out with their car, he or she places themselves under certain legal obligations. This is irrespective of whether they are aware of these obligations or not. Understanding these requirements is critical not just for the sake of the law, but also in recognizing when other road users have violated their obligations towards you.
So what are these obligations?
As a road user, you owe a legal duty of care to other road users, meaning, you are required to take responsible care to ensure that your actions or inaction don’t hurt other road users. And by road users, we don’t just mean drivers, but passengers, cyclists, motorcyclist, pedestrians and any other person who uses the road. If you fail in your duty of care and cause an accident, you could be responsible for the arising damages.
However, you may not always behave perfectly in all situations – and the lawmakers understand this aspect. That’s why negligence cases are based on the standard of care, which are minimum standards that drivers are expected to meet. It’s important to note that no considerations are issued to the individual abilities or circumstances of each motorist. If anyone causes an accident – whether they are learners or experts – they are equally accountable for their wrong. So, a lousy driver can’t avoid responsibility by claiming that they took all the care that they were capable of.
Once the duty is established, your job is to demonstrate how the at-fault driver violated the standard of care. You’ll need to show his or her actions or inactions that made their conduct unreasonable in the situation. In an accident, fault can be established by eyewitness testimony, your testimony of what transpired, examination of the available evidence, police report showing a violation of traffic law, and so on. If your actions, as the plaintiff, contributed to the accident, your compensation will be reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of your fault.
It is not enough to prove negligence. If the negligence happened and you were not harmed, then you may not have a basis for a claim. So, you have to prove that the accident resulted in some kind of economic loss. If you are pursuing a lawsuit for emotional stress arising from the accident, then you will need to prove that you were mentally hurt and that you suffered a quantifiable physical, economic or psychological harm before seeking compensation.
The importance of working with one of the best personal injury lawyers in California can never be overstated. Proving all the four elements of negligence can be daunting for someone without experience. A lawyer understands the process and will help you get the most out of your claim.