Injured In A Motor Vehicle Accident?
There are few things more miserable than having been hurt in an automobile accident. Every factor is arrayed against you at that moment. For starters, you're hurt, so of course you're under physical and mental stress. Add to that the fact that you may be dazed, confused, or at least partially incapacitated. In such a state, you may not be thinking through the full spectrum of legal details, and that's perfectly understandable. When you've been injured, your primary focus is, of course, on getting better. As such, you might not be devoting much, if any thought to your rights in the larger context of the accident. In such cases, it is absolutely critical that you secure the services of a good personal injury attorney as soon as feasible, so you can ensure that your rights are being preserved and protected.
If you've been injured in an accident, and you were not listed as having contributed to the accident, while some other individual was listed as having contributed to causing it, then you may well be entitled to compensation for any damages incurred.
The process of determining negligence is not difficult, but it is a very deliberate process, and it is absolutely essential for determining if some other party is actually liable for the damages you suffer. The process is comprised of four distinct steps. Each step is dependent on the one previous to it. If at any point, you run into a condition that is not true, then there is little point in continuing through with the rest of the process, because odds are good that you have no actual case. We'll step through the process briefly so you've got a firm understanding.
The first step is to determine if the person responsible for the accident had a legal duty to you. In the case of operating a motor vehicle, all drivers have a legal duty to responsible driving behavior to all other drivers on the road, so this one is generally a fairly easy determination to make.
Breach of Duty
Once you've established that the defendant had a legal duty to perform, the next step is to determine whether or not that duty was breached. From a practical standpoint, you can make this determination simply by looking at the accident report as filed by the police. It will show which parties were listed as contributing to the cause of the accident. If you're not and the other person is, that is usually sufficient to determine a breach of duty informally, and your personal injury attorney can set about finding evidence to confirm that the breach occurred.
Cause In Fact
This is also called a "but-for" cause. But for the actions of the defendant, this would not have happened. Essentially you're laying out the case that if the defendant had not acted in a negligent fashion, you would not have gotten hurt. Again, if you've established that a breach of duty occurred, this should not be difficult to establish.