We should all know what negligence means when applied to a car crash. When you suffer injuries and other losses in a car crash in Atlanta, you can seek compensatory damages from the at-fault driver. This is because Georgia is a fault auto insurance state. This means that the insurer of the at-fault person is legally bound to pay up damages for the losses caused in the accident. If the other driver’s fault caused the accident which resulted in your losses, you have a legal right to file a claim with that driver’s insurance company.
However, the insurance company will not easily honor your claim and you will be required to prove the occurrence of negligence. This can be a tough task as proving negligence is not exactly straightforward. You will typically need the help of a good Atlanta car crash lawyer when trying to prove that the other driver was at fault. Here is a look at the legal aspects of negligence in a car accident.
Four Elements of Negligence
When you are filing a personal injury claim, including car crash claims, you must be able to prove four elements of negligence. It is only when you can satisfy all the four elements, with supporting evidence, that you have a valid claim. These elements include:
Duty of Care
The first step in proving negligence is to show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. In other words, the plaintiff had an obligation to act with reasonable care towards the defendant in a particular situation. For instance, when a motorist is driving on the road, he or she has a legal duty towards other motorists. This duty makes it obligatory for the motorist to drive safely, follow traffic rules, and otherwise exercise reasonable caution to avoid a crash.
Breach of Duty of Care
The second element you must prove as the plaintiff in a personal injury claim is that the defendant was guilty of a breach of duty of care. This breach must be related to the kind of duty of care that has been established in the previous step. So if a motorist owed you a duty of care as noted above, and drove recklessly or ran a red light, the plaintiff was guilty of a breach of this duty. However, proving this breach alone is not enough to get you compensatory damages. You must also prove the next two elements.
The third element in proving negligence is to establish direct causation between the breach of duty of care and your injuries. You must show that had the breach not occurred, your injuries would have been avoided. The law also requires you to prove that your injuries should have been foreseeable and preventable with reasonable care. If exceptional or unnatural circumstances result in an injury that is somehow linked to a breach of duty of care, causation may not be legally established.
The injury you sustained as a consequence of the breach of duty by the other driver must have resulted in substantial damages. You must be able to prove the instance and amount of these damages with the relevant evidence. If an injury was minor enough to result in little to no damages, the claim may be rejected altogether.
Relevant Evidence in Proving Negligence
When proving negligence, you are required to produce the relevant evidence. Such evidence helps you negotiate more effectively with an insurance company. If the claim turns into a personal injury lawsuit, the evidence plays a vital role in helping you win the suit.
In general, the following types of evidence can be used in backing up your claim and showing the negligence committed by the other driver:
- Police Report: A police report is filed by law enforcement officers on the scene of a crash. This report includes key facts and other vital details surrounding the crash. It may also note which party was negligent.
- Witness Statements: Statements from the people who witnessed the crash can be very effective in proving negligence. This is because witnesses typically offer a neutral, third-party viewpoint.
- Photos and Videos: The photos and videos from the crash scene help you show an insurance adjuster or a judge and jury how the crash occurred. Such evidence can be very helpful in clearly showing that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the incident.
- Medical Records: Medical records as well as any other bills detailing your crash-related losses prove the extent of your damages.
Hiring a Reliable Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
If you intend to file a car crash claim in Atlanta, GA, it is important to hire an experienced lawyer. A good lawyer will help you prove negligence and seek a fair amount of compensation. Here at the Green Legal Group, we have been helping Atlanta crash victims get a fair settlement for their injuries. Call us today to discuss your claim and schedule a free session with our attorneys.