Everyone knows that the party that causes a car crash should compensate their victims for any damage that they suffered. In reality, proving that a driver’s negligence was the cause of a crash can be harder than it sounds. There are specific steps that an attorney has to take in order to make sure that their client can obtain what they need to be made whole after their crash.
What negligence means in a legal context
The word “negligence” has a very precise meaning when it comes to lawsuits for personal injury. There are four specific elements that the attorney of a victim has to prove in court in order to obtain compensation for their client in a negligence case. They must prove:
- That the responsible driver had a legal duty towards the victim. This duty is typically the duty to refrain from unreasonably risky or reckless behavior that can endanger others.
- That the responsible driver breached this duty toward the victim.
- That the victim suffered actual harm. This harm can be physical, financial, or both.
- That the victim’s harm was the direct result of the responsible driver’s breach of duty. In legalese, the attorney must prove both the actual cause and the proximate cause of the defendant’s actions.
What if they prove that I was negligent as well?
In an adversarial court setting, it’s possible that the other driver’s attorney will attempt to prove that you were at least partially at fault for the accident. Does this mean that you lose your right to seek compensation from them?
Unfortunately, Alabama is one of the few states in the nation that still has contributory negligence as an affirmative defense for at-fault drivers. This legal jargon essentially means that, even if you prove that the other driver was primarily at fault for the crash, if they can prove that you share even a small portion of the responsibility for the accident, it’s possible for you to lose your right to recover compensation from them.
Proving negligence in a car accident case is serious business. It’s essential that you get started on your legal case as quickly as possible after the events of your crash, so that you can stand a solid chance of getting what you deserve after a negligent driver cost you so much.