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Establishing negligence following a motor vehicle accident

When the driver causes an accident involving another motorist, bicyclist, or pedestrian, that driver has likely committed negligence. Negligence can occur in many forms, but some of the most common forms of driver negligence include:

  • Failing to drive at a rate of speed reasonable for conditions
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light
  • Failing to yield the right of way at an intersection
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while using a cell phone or engaging in other forms of distracted driving

Filing a negligence claim after an accident

Negligence essentially means that a driver acted irresponsibly behind the wheel and their irresponsible actions caused an accident and injury to the victim. In order to establish negligence in court, you will need to prove four basic elements: duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.

Essentially, you will be proving that by acting negligently behind the wheel, the other driver breached the duty owed to you and therefore caused your motor vehicle accident and the injuries and damages you suffered as a result of that accident. Documentation of injuries, police reports, as well as witness and expert testimony are often critical for proving these elements.

What if I contributed to my own accident?

In many cases, more than one party involved in the crash was negligent in some way. However, under contributory negligence laws in the state of Alabama, you may not recover damages if you are partially at fault for your own accident. A personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and give you a realistic idea as to whether you are entitled to damages following your accident.