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In any car accident incident, the most common question asked is who was at fault. This is a key question as the person who is at fault for the accident is required by law to compensate for any losses suffered by other parties involved in the accident. This article will discuss vehicle accidents that are caused by negligence.

One of the most common legal concepts relied upon when proving fault in a car accident incident is that of negligence. According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute [Negligence | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)] negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.” So, to put it into context negligence is any careless conduct or behavior which results in the harm of another person.

When looking at an accident involving a vehicle a person may be said to have acted negligently if s/he did something that s/he should not have done. For example, if a driver runs a red light or speeds. Or, it may be where the driver failed to do something that they should have done. For example, failing to yield or not switching on the headlights while driving at night. It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Bakersfield car accident lawyer to understand negligence in your case.

Another important aspect of negligence is the issue of using reasonable care; this is necessary in order to avoid injury to other road users; that is passengers, pedestrians, and motorists. In instances where a driver fails to use reasonable care and another person is injured as a result, that driver can be held financially liable for the individual’s injuries and any other losses.

The legal concept of negligence is used when there is a dispute with regards to who was at fault for a car accident. This is applicable whether the car accident claim is part of an insurance claims process or is being handled in court. It must be noted that the person making the claim, that is the plaintiff, has the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent.

With regards to a car accident lawsuit, the plaintiff needs to establish the following:

  • There exists a legal requirement for the defendant to be reasonably careful – driving law requires that drivers use reasonable caution while operating their vehicles.
  • The defendant was not careful – It must be established that the defendant violated their duty under the law of being careful (i.e., breach of the duty of care). Determining this point evaluates what a reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances in comparison with the driver’s actions.
  • The conduct of the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries – There must be evidence that the plaintiff was injured as a result of the defendant’s actions. Near misses are not considered in a car accident claim.
  • Damages–The victim   of the accident must have been injured in some way to receive compensation.
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