Every one of us tends to spend hours inside our vehicles each week. We run errands, go to or from work, and visit friends and loved ones. We can get so comfortable behind the wheel that we forget the degree of risk that exists just by getting on the open road.
Accidents are all too common. So common, in fact, that it is more than likely that every one of us will be in at least one accident (if not more!) during our lifetimes. As you can imagine, the legal ramifications of these accidents can be quite severe.
Careless driving is often the cause of an automobile accident. Proving or disproving negligence in a car accident case will typically be the main challenge that a driver’s lawyers will have placed in front of them.
What actions can be considered negligent, and how are things proven in a court of law? Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you should know.
Understanding Negligence on the Road
Citizens have a duty of responsibility under the law to others when they are out in the world. This is true outside of the world of the road. A business owner has a responsibility to provide a reasonably safe experience for their customers, and a homeowner must maintain reasonable responsibility when it comes to impacting their neighbors.
When a person gets behind the wheel of an automobile, they have a duty of care to other drivers on the road and pedestrians and passers-by. Behavior that could be considered less than reasonable or careless could leave that driver liable under the law should an accident result from these actions.
There are a lot of examples of what careless driving could look like. It could be texting, going over the speed limit, flying through a red light, or driving while intoxicated.
In some cases, negligence might also stem from something that a driver failed to do. Most drivers are responsible for paying attention and keeping a safe distance from the cars in front of them. Failure to brake in time to prevent an accident typically falls on the driver who failed to prevent the accident from occurring.
This is why it is important never to take the blame for an accident at the scene itself. Any good car accident lawyer would tell you this. You, as a driver, might feel as if the accident is your fault. However, you might not have all the details.
The only reason you may have hit another driver is that they ran a red light, knowledge that you might not have at the time. However, taking the blame for an accident at the scene of the accident itself can make it harder to build a case later on. As we all know, what you do and say can be used against you in a court of law.
If another driver on the roadway has injured you, you have a right to compensation under the law. Accidents can be terrifying, life-altering, and expensive. A person responsible for an accident will need to cover damages, including those for property damage to the vehicle and medical care for anyone injured.
Of course, a person must first be proven to have caused the accident due to their careless driving. For liability to stick, a plaintiff will need to show evidence that the driver acted negligently. They will also need to prove that it was this negligent behavior that led to the accident.
If a person was texting and driving, but the other driver whose actions caused the accident, one can’t argue that the person’s negligent behavior resulted in the accident.
An experienced attorney will be able to look at your case’s details and help you determine what evidence is needed to prove that careless driving took place. They will often look at photos and videos from the scene, police reports, witness testimonies, and nearby security camera footage.
All of this evidence can help to build a case and demonstrate how an accident occurred. Of course, if you are defending yourself against negligent driving claims, the same idea will hold. Your attorney will be looking to the same sources of evidence to prove the exact opposite idea: that you either weren’t driving carelessly or that your behavior had no impact on the accident that ended up occurring.
Civil and Criminal Charges
If a person were driving extremely recklessly, they would likely need to face civil and criminal charges in court. The civil case will cover the damages done to the other driver. Property damage, medical care, and lost wages will all need to be recovered.
However, if they were driving in a fashion against the law, they might also need to defend themselves against criminal charges. This includes drinking and driving, driving far over the speed limit, running red lights, evading authorities, and so forth.
Generally speaking, civil cases carry a much lower burden of proof than criminal cases. It will be easier for the plaintiff to recover damages based on a certain amount of evidence than to bring criminal charges forward.
Understanding Careless Driving and Negligence
If you’re on the open road, you must understand the dangers of careless driving. Should you find yourself in an accident due to your own or someone else’s negligence, the above information can help you sort out what might happen next. Need more legal advice? Keep scrolling our blog for more.