Negligence in Riverdale Car Accident Claims
Since car accidents almost never stem from someone intentionally trying to hurt another person, civil recovery after car crashes generally revolves around the concept of legal negligence. In a nutshell, negligence is what makes civil lawsuits possible, as it allows someone to be held legally liable—and therefore financially responsible—for damages they did not intentionally or even knowingly cause.
However, proving negligence in Riverdale car accident claims can be a complicated endeavor, especially if it is not clear exactly what led to an accident or the degree to which each involved party contributed to causing it. Assistance from a qualified attorney could make all the difference in how straightforward the process of proving negligence is in your particular case.
What Does Negligence Look Like in a Car Crash Case?
There are four basic elements to legal negligence, all of which must be present in order for a case to end in an injured plaintiff’s favor. The first element—duty of care—is present in virtually every car accident case, as every licensed driver in the state of Georgia has an implicit legal obligation to follow the rules of the road, look out for other drivers and pedestrians, and generally act like a reasonable person at all times while operating a motor vehicle.
Likewise, the fourth element—compensable damages—is generally easy to prove through bills for hospital treatment and car repairs, pay stubs for missed work wages, and other documentary evidence. However, the most complex aspect of most Riverdale car accident claims—and the part that legal counsel could provide crucial assistance with—is proving the second and third elements of legal negligence: a breach of the duty of care, and causation of an accident as a direct result of that breach.
Depending on the circumstances, a breach of duty might entail a traffic violation like speeding, a reckless action like not checking a blind spot before turning, or a moment of carelessness like looking at a passenger instead of the road ahead. Sometimes, the police report filed by the officer who responds to an accident scene indicates what particular actions led to the incident, but in other situations a plaintiff and their attorney may need to collect and present other forms of evidence such as witness testimony, surveillance footage, and input from accident reconstruction experts.
When Injured Parties Are Partially at Fault
Of course, defendants are not the only parties in Riverdale car accident claims whose negligence could have helped cause the accident. In many situations, defendants try to contest their own liability for a wreck by pinning some or all of the blame on the person filing suit—and if the court agrees with them, that comparative negligence by the plaintiff could have serious repercussions for their recoverable compensation.
Under Official Code of Georgia §51-11-7, any civil plaintiff found 50 percent or more at fault for their own injuries cannot recover any compensation for the incident in question. Furthermore, under Official Code of Georgia §51-12-33, a plaintiff found between 0 and 49 percent liable for their own damages would have their final damage award reduced by that same percentage. A skilled legal professional could help contest these sorts of allegations and minimize the risk of a reduction in recovery.
A Riverdale Attorney Could Work to Prove Negligence in a Car Accident Case
While it can sometimes seem obvious who is to blame for a car accident and the injuries that it caused, proving negligence in civil court or during private settlement negotiations can often be a difficult task to manage alone. Both proving someone else’s liability and disproving your own can require a lot of evidence and a good deal of legal expertise.
Fortunately, obtaining the latter often helps immensely with the process of obtaining and effectively utilizing the former. Call today to learn how a seasoned attorney could help prove negligence in your Riverdale car accident claims.