When you are hurt in a car accident, the cause of the crash can greatly impact the amount of compensation you may recover in a car accident case. For example, if a driver was drunk, speeding, or breaking traffic laws, it may be easier to prove their negligence. An Omaha car accident attorney can further explain how the common causes of car accidents in Omaha can affect liability.
Common Causes of Car Crashes
Driver error is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Here are some common car accident causes:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Reckless driving
- Driver fatigue
- Impaired driving
- Aggressive driving
- Exceeding speed limits
- Ignoring traffic signals and stop signs
Understanding Liability in Car Accidents
In the context of a car accident, liability refers to legal responsibility or fault for the accident. It involves determining who is at fault or to blame for causing the accident. This determination is essential for insurance claims and potential legal actions. Liability in car accidents is typically based on negligence. Negligence is a specific legal concept that involves a failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances.
If you suffer injuries in a car accident, and you want to hold the other driver liable for your losses, you must establish that the other driver’s negligence contributed to your injuries. There are four key elements that typically need to be established in order to prove negligence:
- Duty of Care: The first element is establishing that the defendant (the at-fault driver) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff (the injured party). In the context of a car accident, this duty of care is generally assumed, as all drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care while operating their vehicles to prevent harm to others on the road.
- Breach of Duty: The second element is demonstrating that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means showing that the defendant failed to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would have under similar circumstances. For example, if the defendant was speeding, texting while driving, or ran a red light, they may be considered to have breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The third element involves establishing a causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the plaintiff’s injuries. In other words, it must be shown that the defendant’s negligent actions directly led to the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries. If the accident and injuries would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s negligence, causation may be established.
- Damages: The fourth and final element is proving that the plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the car accident. Damages can include physical injuries, medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. Without actual damages, there is generally no basis for a negligence claim.
Every driver has a duty to use reasonable care when driving their vehicle. Consequently, any motorist who breaches that duty and causes a car accident can be held liable in a civil suit.
How Does Drunk Driving Impact a Car Accident Case?
The unique part of an Omaha drunk driving accident is that drunk drivers are generally considered at fault as a matter of law. Some states refer to a legal doctrine known as negligence per se when someone breaches their duty of reasonable care by breaking the law. Nebraska has not adopted the negligence per se doctrine. However, violation of the law is considered a factor to determine whether somebody was negligent.
When someone is driving drunk, they already breached that duty. When they breach that duty and car accidents occur resulting in injuries to another person, it is easy to show that their breach of duty was the cause of the injury.
Liability and Speeding
There is a stigma associated with a person excessively speeding, particularly if their speeding caused them to lose control and get into an auto accident. The analysis is similar to drunk driving. While there is no negligence per se in Nebraska, speeding is evidence of negligence to establish the breach of the driver’s duty of care. An attorney can explain how exceeding the speed limit can be used as evidence of negligence in a car accident claim.
Proving a Driver Ran a Red Light in Omaha
Running a stop sign or traffic light is also similar to drunk driving and speeding in terms of how it affects liability. Running a stop sign or a red light is considered a traffic infraction. A traffic infraction proves that a person breached his or her duty of care and is therefore negligent.
Failing to Drive Appropriately for Conditions at Night
Night driving can be a significant factor in determining liability when a person is driving inappropriately for the conditions. For example, in driver’s education, a person is taught not to drive any faster than they would be able to stop and remain within the viewpoint of their headlights at night. When an individual is driving faster at night than they would be able to stop within their headlights, they are being negligent. When a car accident occurs at night, the police officer will consider whether the driver was operating their vehicle appropriately for the conditions.
Berry Law’s Team Provides You With Multiple Attorney Perspectives
Discuss How the Common Causes of Omaha Car Accidents Affect Liability
A well-versed attorney understands how the cause of a car accident can impact liability in Omaha. They can use that knowledge to help you bring the strongest case for compensation possible. To discuss your legal options, call Berry Law for a free consultation.