How to Prove Negligence in an Accident
Proving fault is a key element in every personal injury case. Unless this is accomplished, your case will not be heard. So, how does an injured party prove that the defendant was at fault? There are ways to do this, but it takes experience and diligence to get the job done. Let's look at the ways your Myrtle Beach car accident lawyer will prove fault and obtain the damages you need.
An Attorney's Role in Proving Fault
Your attorney can prove fault and uses a variety of methods. At Morris Law, we start with investigating the scene of the accident. No one likes to admit they caused an accident, so the investigation is an important feature of a legal claim. At Morris Law, our investigators start out by examining the accident scene for tell-tale signs of how and why the collision occurred. This includes the following:
- Our investigators search for skid marks on the pavement. The presence of skid marks shows the driver used their brakes to come to a full stop. The length of the skid marks can indicate the speed at which the vehicle was traveling. If the skid marks are absent, chances are the driver was drunk or drugged or asleep.
- The investigators also use accident reconstruction, which tells them the placement of the vehicles throughout the scenario leading to the crash.
- If surveillance cameras are available, we obtain video footage that points to liability.
- We review accident reports, check the driving record of the at-fault driver and talk to witnesses.
When the investigation is concluded, we can determine who was liable and, if appropriate, file a claim against the at-fault driver. It is the court or jury that makes this determination final.
Who Is Liable for Damages?
In most cases, the insurance company pays for damages in a car accident caused by an at-fault party. However, some drivers do not carry insurance or are underinsured. In these instances, the negligent party becomes personally responsible.
How Is Negligence Used to Prove Fault?
Negligence occurs when the at-fault party fails to take a prudent amount of care to avoid harming another person. To prove negligence, the following elements must be established:
- Duty: The legal duty the defendant has to the plaintiff must be proven. This consists of using safe driving skills to prevent injuries to others on the road.
- Breaching that duty: The attorney must prove that the duty the defendant had to the plaintiff was breached. For instance, driving distracted and causing an accident is breaking their duty to the plaintiff.
- Proving causation: It must be proven that the defendant's negligence caused the plaintiff's injuries. If the accident was caused by a drunk driver, having a BAC level of 0.08 is proof the defendant was driving drunk.
- The presence of damages: The injuries incurred by the plaintiff must have financial damages associated with them. This could be the cost of medical treatment and lost wages.
Other Ways to Prove Fault
Additional ways to prove negligence are:
- Negligence per se: An action is deemed to be negligent because it violates a statute. For instance, if a driver is recklessly speeding through an intersection and a pedestrian is injured, then by breaking the statute, the motorist is negligent.
- Intentional acts: Here, an act is performed with the intention of harming another person. For instance, assault on a person is a crime, but it is more than that. It is a personal injury against the person. An example would be an attack on a couple that resulted in a double homicide. Even though the attacker will be charged with a crime, the family of the decedents can file a personal injury claim against the attacker. This is what happened in the O.J. Simpson case. The family filed a claim against Simpson, and even though he won his criminal trial, he was ordered to pay the damages in the personal injury lawsuit.
- Strict liability: In this case, the plaintiff is not obligated to prove negligence at all. For instance, in product liability cases, the defendant only needs to prove that they were using the product in the way for which it was intended when the accident occurred.
Morris Law Firm in the Myrtle Beach Area
At Morris Law, we fight for our client's rights. We are adamant that the client should not have to suffer physical and financial harm due to another's actions. That is why we investigate every accident thoroughly and work hard to obtain the compensation our clients need. Call us at (843) 232-0944 to start claiming the damages inflicted by a negligent party.