A car accident, whether solo or multiple, happens primarily because of negligence. The difference is that there is a victim and a fault party in a two-vehicle or multiple vehicle collision. Also, the parties involved could share the blame, which affects the compensation amount the victim gets.
Understanding negligence helps you know when a person is the one at fault for an accident. In this article, we examine the doctrine of negligence in car accident cases and the different types. If you are the victim of a car accident, our Atlanta car accident lawyers will offer you expert legal advice and representation.
What Is Negligence?
Negligence is a tort doctrine that applies in several types of civil lawsuits. It means the failure of a person, usually the defendant, to exercise reasonable care, and such failure resulting in an injury to another person, the plaintiff. A person would have acted negligently if they failed to act in a manner another “reasonable” person would have acted in the same circumstances.
In a car accident case, a lawsuit based on negligence would be on the following four factors:
- The fault party owed the victim a duty of care
- The fault driver breached the duty by failing to exercise reasonable care
- The fault party caused harm to the victim due to the breached duty
- The harm resulted in damages
Common examples of acts of negligence in a car accident case are:
- Failure to obey traffic laws, e.g., running red lights or traffic stops, failing to yield, speeding, driving too slowly, e.t.c.
- Failing to be vigilant behind the wheel, e.g., being distracted by calling, texting, or mentally zoning out.
- Failing to maintain control of the vehicle, e.g., sudden stops, stopping over an intersection line, and swerving.
- Failing to properly use the vehicle’s equipment, e.g., failing to the vehicle’s turn signal when turning, or engage hazard lights when necessary.
What Are the Types of Negligence in a Car Accident Case?
There are primarily four types of negligence, and the facts of your case determine the one that applies. The facts also determine if one or two or more of the negligence types discussed below would apply.
Negligence can be ordinary or gross. Ordinary negligence is what the general definition of negligence covers. You don’t need to go the extra mile to prove ordinary negligence. For example, showing that a person drove through a stop sign is enough to get you compensation for any injury and property damage from such an act.
Things are not so straightforward with gross negligence. By definition, it is the blatant, willful, and gross disregard for the safety of others. It means that the defendant knew their actions could harm someone and went ahead to do it. Car accident victims who can prove gross negligence get awarded punitive damages. However, proving it is hard to do, so, work with an Atlanta auto accident attorney.
Vicarious liability is a tort doctrine. It comes into play when you need to prove that an employer is vicariously liable for the accident caused by their employee. An excellent example of an accident case where this doctrine applies is trucking collisions or a rideshare accident. Suppose a trucking or rideshare company hires a driver with a DUI history. They will be vicariously liable for any injury arising from an accident caused by the driver when impaired.
Contributory negligence means that both parties to the crash contributed to it, and therefore, cannot get compensation. Here, even if the supposed victim’s fault is only 1%, they will be unable to get damages. The rigid nature of the law is why only four states in the U.S. and the District of Columbia use it. Other states follow the comparative negligence rule.
Under the comparative negligence law, each party to the accident will get compensated based on their fault level. Comparative negligence is divided into two — pure and modified. Pure comparative negligence allows the plaintiff to recover even if they share a high fault degree. Modified comparative negligence stops the plaintiff from getting damages if their fault is at 51%. Georgia, like several other U.S. states, practices the modified comparative negligence.
Consult With Atlanta’s Premium Car Accident Lawyers Today!
At The Weinstein Firm, our auto accident attorneys understand how the negligence doctrine works and how to prove its presence in a car accident case. We will bring this wealth of knowledge to bear on your case and get you justice by getting maximum compensation. We work on a contingency fee basis and will demand no upfront fee. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.