Each year, thousands die because of motor vehicle crashes. Caraccidents involving the collision of two cars are the most commontype of crashes, although a large percentage of fatalities in caraccidents involve motorcyclists and pedestrians. Because of theincreasing number of property damage, personal injuries and deathsdue to car accidents, states put in place legal rules to determinewho is responsible for the damages resulting from a collision.
Car accident law consists of the principles of negligence, which isgoverned almost entirely by state law. There are differences instate laws governing claims or suits seeking damages resulting fromcar accidents, but typically victims must prove the following: (1)presence of duty of care, (2) breach of such duty, (3) the breachcaused personal injuries or property damage, and (4) and the victimincurred monetary losses.
In terms of duty, drivers are legally obligated to obey traffic rulesand drive their vehicles with reasonable standard of care, whichmeans maintaining safe speed, exercising awareness and observingtraffic signals. During litigation, the existence of duty isgenerally accepted without argument. The plaintiff, however, willneed to prove that the drive breached his or her duty. Breach of dutyis proven through direct or circumstantial evidence. Direct evidenceinclude eyewitnesses, testimony, video footages, or admission offault. Circumstantial evidence include skid marks, paint smudges, oralcohol tests.
The plaintiff must further prove that the breach of duty causedinjuries by demonstrating that the injuries are consistent with thenature of the crash and they were not pre-existing. Moreover, theplaintiff needs to prove that the injuries resulted to monetary loss.Once a jury, after trial, determines that the plaintiff has provenall four elements, the plaintiff will be entitled to compensation fordamages, which include medical expenses, pain and grief, lost wages,among others.
Car accident cases are not complex, but litigating claims for damagesarising from property damage, personal injury or death related to caraccidents is tricky and tedious, requiring plaintiffs to confer withcounsel prior to initiating any suit. For the most part of thelitigation, any act or omission by the plaintiff or defendant maylead to either a win for the plaintiff and defeat for the defendant,or defeat for the plaintiff or win for the defendant. What this meansis that, both parties to car accident litigation must beknowledgeable of how the system works, and not just what the lawprovides, in order to win the case.
For instance, car accident litigation is factual, which means,everything that happened before, during and after the accident mustput in record, and every detail must be taken note of, for theplaintiff or the defendant to build a strong case in his or herfavor. Being factual, the plaintiff or defendant must produce bothdirect and circumstantial evidence to prove their case. There arenumerous rules of evidence that must be taken into consideration sothat an evidence will not be thrown out as unacceptable, weakeningthe case. In addition to winning a case for damages, there is alsoanother complicated matter on seeking compensation from the losingparty's insurance. One is not prevented from representing himself incar accident cases. An expert attorney, however, can protect a clientfrom the opponent's tactics.