Mississippi Car Accident Lawyer Discusses Negligent Driving

Car accidents are, unfortunately, extremely common. It is estimated that most people will have around three or four car accidents in their lifetimes. The vast majority of car accidents are not the result of intentional behavior, or faulty equipment, but rather, involve someone doing something careless. It is easy to become complacent while driving, and think that we can just make that one phone call, or take a quick look to see who that text was from. However, when these types of behaviors lead to a car accident that one text can lead to a driver being referred to as “negligent.” Negligence is the legal basis for many personal injury claims. But what exactly makes a person negligent?

Negligence defined

When we talk about someone having been negligent we mean that they failed to exhibit the “level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” So if you were in your car and rear-ended by a driver who was looking at their phone, the other driver was likely negligent. If you were in an accident caused because the other driver suffered a stroke and rear-ended you, then the other driver was probably not negligent. This is because the first driver did something a reasonably prudent or cautious person would not do when they took their eyes off of the road to look at their phone, while in the second example, the driver who suffered a stroke likely did nothing wrong, but had an unpredictable physical problem that prevented them from operating their vehicle safely.

Making a case for negligence

If a person wishes to make a case against another driver for negligence, they must be able to show four things.

  • A legal duty was owed to the injured person
  • The defendant breached their duty
  • The person suing, or plaintiff, was injured
  • The injury was caused by the defendant’s breach of their duty

When it comes to car accidents, showing that a duty was owed to the injured party is pretty simple. A driver owes a legal duty to everyone else on the road, passengers in their own car and pedestrians. This is different from some other types of personal injury claims, such as medical malpractice, where a doctor only owes a duty to his or her patients.

A breach of duty occurs when someone does something that is not prudent. For instance, texting and driving or driving drunk.

In order to make a case against another driver for negligence, the person suing must be able to show that they were injured. This can mean physical injury, but can also include property damage, such as a car that has been totaled as a result of the accident.

Finally, the injury and the breach of duty must be causally linked. If someone rear-ended you while you were stuck at a red light causing you to suffer severe whiplash, and they were texting at the time of the accident, then they breached a duty that they owed you, and you were injured. However, if they were stopped at the time of the accident too, and their car jolted forward as the result of a mechanical defect, then the fact that they were texting would not have been causally linked to the injuries that you suffered, and there would not be a case for negligence.

If you were injured in a car accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your claim.  Contact Barrett Law PLLC to speak with our seasoned Mississippi Car Accident Lawyer today at (800) 707-9577.

 

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