If you have been injured in a car accident, you have the right to pursue compensation from the party who harmed you. However, to have a valid claim, you must prove the other driver was negligent.

While it may be evident to you who caused your car accident, proving driver negligence is not always easy. The legal process can be incredibly complex. This article will give you a better understanding of what is needed to prove negligence in car accident cases.

Negligent Actions That Cause Car Accidents

Under the legal principle of negligence, when an individual acts in a careless way and causes injury to another person, the person who acted carelessly is legally liable for any resulting harm.

This principle of negligence applies to many types of personal injury cases, including motor vehicle accidents. However, proving that another driver was negligent can be far more difficult than most car accident victims realize. Car accident attorneys are skilled at identifying negligent acts of at-fault drivers.

Our law firm has handled cases involving various forms of driver negligence, including:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Tailgating
  • Failing to obey traffic signals
  • Illegal turning
  • Aggressive driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk driving

What Is Required to File a Car Accident Claim Based on Negligence?

It is unlikely that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will simply volunteer to pay you a fair settlement after a car accident. Instead, the insurer will require that you prove their policyholder was negligent.

To establish fault, you must prove the following 4 elements:

  • Duty of care: The other driver had a duty to operate his or her vehicle in a safe manner
  • Breach of duty: The driver breached the duty of care by failing to act with reasonable care
  • Causation: The negligent actions of the driver directly caused the car accident
  • Damages: The car accident resulted in injuries and monetary losses

Solid Evidence Is Needed to Prove Negligence

To prove negligence in a car accident case, you will need strong evidence to support each element.

Evidence commonly used to establish negligence in car accident claims includes:

  • Admissions of fault: While uncommon, following some motor vehicle accidents, the other driver will admit responsibility for the crash. This admission could be made directly to you, to an eyewitness, or to a responding police officer.
  • Photos: Pictures of vehicle damage, skid marks, road and weather conditions, and injuries can provide compelling visual evidence to determine fault.
  • Videos: Did a dash cam, traffic camera, Ring doorbell, or surveillance camera from a business capture the car accident? If so, this video evidence could provide clear evidence of who is liable.
  • Police report: Request a copy of the accident report from the police officer who responded to the scene. This report may include contact information from all parties involved, an assessment of fault, and details of any citations issued at the scene.
  • Eyewitness statements: Testimony from a person who witnessed the car accident – especially someone not connected to either party involved in the crash – can be powerful evidence.
  • Medical records: A copy of a person’s medical records provides proof of damages in car accident cases. These records prove the extent of the injury and the cost of the medical care.

Common Challenges to Proving Negligence After a Car Accident and How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

You are likely going to face some challenges when proving negligence after a car accident. Fortunately, you do not have to go through the complicated and overwhelming process of gathering evidence and establishing fault on your own. You can seek the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.

Consider some obstacles you might face while proving negligence and liability and how a car accident attorney can help.

Insufficient evidence

Evidence is crucial to establish who was responsible for the car crash and whether their actions breached a duty of care.

You may be unsure of what evidence is needed and how to go about obtaining it. Another challenge is the fact that evidence can quickly disappear, making prompt action essential.

Personal injury lawyers are skilled at collecting evidence quickly and building strong car accident cases for their clients by:

  • Requesting cell phone records: Many car accidents are the result of drivers texting or talking on the phone while driving. An annual report from the New Jersey Department of Transportation reported 1,437 crashes related to cell phone usage within one year. A car accident lawyer can subpoena copies of the defendant’s cell phone records to prove he or she was on the phone at the time of the collision.
  • Consulting accident reconstructionists: In more complicated car accident cases, a personal injury lawyer may consult an accident reconstructionist. Seasoned lawyers apply their knowledge and skills to recreate the crash and determine the cause of it. They may use computer models to simulate the car accident based on the information they have collected about the crash.
  • Viewing video footage: A lawyer can identify potential sources of surveillance videos from businesses or traffic cameras that may have captured the car accident taking place. It may be difficult for you to obtain copies of this footage on your own, but a lawyer will know what legal action to take to subpoena these records.

Comparative negligence laws

One common way that insurance companies try to avoid the full payout of a claim is by using a defense of comparative negligence. The insurance company tries to shift some of the blame onto the car accident victim.

Many states, such as New Jersey, follow modified comparative negligence laws. This means that if the insurance company can prove you were partially at fault for the car accident, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

Experienced personal injury lawyers have a thorough understanding of comparative negligence laws. They also understand the tactics that insurance companies use to blame car accident victims and avoid paying out claims.

Car accident lawyers will use their knowledge of the law and experience negotiating with insurance companies to shift the blame back onto the other driver who caused the accident.

Contact Judd Shaw Injury Law for Help Proving Driver Negligence

By understanding the common challenges to proving driver negligence after a car accident and taking appropriate action by hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can increase your chances of achieving monetary compensation for your losses.

The lawyers at Judd Shaw Injury Law have many years of experience in successfully handling car accident cases for their clients. We know what is needed to build a strong case for you after your car accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact us today. We will safeguard your rights and work hard to ensure you receive rightful compensation. Contact us at 732-888-8888 or complete the contact form to schedule a free case consultation.

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Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.