Prove Driver Negligence in a Charlotte Car Accident Case
According to WBTV’s August 2017 news report, four people were injured in a car accident near the University in northeast Charlotte.
The car accident happened shortly after 4:00 p.m. in the 2200 block of Back Creek Church Road close to Wakerobin Lane. At least one individual was pinned in a vehicle. At least two people were transported to a nearby medical center because they sustained very serious injuries. The other two car accident victims were also taken to the hospital for minor injuries.
At the time of the report, the names of the four victims had not been released. From the news channel’s helicopter, it appeared two vehicles collided head-on. Both vehicles were heavily damaged by the impact.
Police closed the road shortly after the accident. Police did not know what caused the accident or if there would be charges filed. It is also not known if the injured victims will file a civil lawsuit for their injuries.
Determining Negligence in a Charlotte Car Accident
Exercising reasonable care is required while driving from one place to another in Charlotte. Exercising reasonable care means things like watching for pedestrians and obeying traffic laws. Charlotte expects every driver to exercise reasonable care when driving.
When a driver fails to exercise reasonable care while driving and causes an accident, it is called negligence. Negligence refers to the failure to act as a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstance. A reasonable person is an imaginary individual who always does things right. They set the standard in which every driver’s actions are compared to in a civil lawsuit.
For example, a reasonable person would have moved into another lane after turning on their turn signal. A driver could cause an accident by not turning on their signal prior to moving into the next lane. The court would compare what a reasonable person would have done in the same and/or similar situation and found the driver liable for the accident.
Sometimes negligence is easy to determine. One driver may do something that causes an accident. All an attorney would have to do is gather the evidence to support the negligence claim against the driver.
Other times, negligence is not so clear cut. In this situation, a personal injury attorney would have to determine who was liable. Actions that make a driver liable for an accident include:
- Changing lanes without signaling;
- Driving distracted -distracted driving occurs when a driver is doing something else while operating a motor vehicle such as texting, talking on the phone, applying makeup or changing clothes;
- Failing to yield the right of way;
- Driving at an excessive speed;
- Driving drunk;
- Erratically changing lanes; and
- Failing to follow traffic signs or other traffic laws.
An accident may happen and a driver not be responsible. An attorney will have to determine if one of the drivers’ vehicle malfunctioned. This is called a product defective lawsuit. Another cause is poorly maintained or designed Charlotte roadways. This is another type of civil suit which will absolve the driver of liability.
Proving Negligence in a Charlotte Car Accident Case
Once an attorney knows who and what caused the accident, it is their job to then prove the other driver was responsible for the accident. Proving negligence occurred starts with establishing the other driver had a legal duty to their client. They must then continue to prove each element.
A legal duty involves a driver protecting a pedestrian, passenger or other driver from harm while driving. This driver was responsible for traveling from one place to another without injuring the plaintiff, the attorney’s client.
Once legal duty is established, the attorney must prove the other driver breached their duty to the plaintiff. A driver breaches their legal duty by causing an accident. Their actions must be negligent such as switching lanes without signaling or following too closely behind the plaintiff’s vehicle. This element consists of proving how the accident happened.
The third step in proving negligence is to connect the driver’s negligence to the plaintiff’s injury. This can be done using the but-for test or showing indirect cause. The but-for test simply shows that but-for the driver causing the collision through an act of negligence, the plaintiff would not have suffered an injury. The but-for is a direct cause such as hitting the plaintiff’s vehicle after running a red light.
The other option is to connect driver negligence to the plaintiff’s injury by proximate cause. This means the driver did not directly cause the accident, but did something to indirectly cause it. This could be ignoring a traffic light and causing another driver to swerve and hit the plaintiff.
The last step in proving negligence is showing the plaintiff suffered damages. These damages include:
- Medical costs;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Decreased earning capacity if they cannot return to work
An attorney must prove each element to win the case. At any time during the case, the other driver or their insurance company may decide to settle the case out of court. An out-of-court settlement involves a plaintiff taking a negotiated amount of money in return for not going to trial.
At Brown, Moore & Associates, PLLC, We Care About Your Car Accident Injury Lawsuit
After a collision, remain calm. Assess injuries and always seek medical treatment. Often, it is hard to tell if you are injured or not immediately after a car crash. Always gather evidence like witness contact information, accident scene photographs, and injury photographs.
It is vital that you contact an attorney after your accident. You want to schedule a free consultation to determine your legal rights, obtain a settlement, or pursue a civil case against the at-fault party.
We provide a free consultation and will discuss your car accident and who is liable. Let us negotiate with the insurance company to help get you the money you need to pay for your bills and other expenses. If we have to pursue a civil claim, we will build a solid case to present to a jury or judge.
Contact us about your car accident claim immediately.