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The Elements of an Auto Accident Claim Auto accident attorneys must first determine that potential clients have a case before deciding to represent them. A lot of people believe, wrongly, that whenever someone causes an accident they are negligent and can be sued. That isn’t how it works, however. There are several elements that need to be present in order for a person to have a viable claim of personal injury stemming from an auto accident. Determining a duty to care is the first thing an auto accident attorney will do. A legal duty to care is something anyone who drives a car has. Drivers must, according to their duty, drive safely which also includes driving vehicles that are in good mechanical condition as well. Because the duty to care applies to every driver, auto accident attorneys have no problem proving that there is a duty to care. In other personal injury cases, it isn’t so easy to prove duty of care. The second thing that must be established is that the driver breached their duty to care. Whenever a driver drives unsafely, disregards the traffic laws or drives a car knowing that is has severe mechanical problems that driver is in breach of their duty to care.
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Breach of duty to care equals negligence. Determining that there was a breach is the most important element and one that many people don’t understand. Many individuals are under the belief that anytime someone is at fault for an accident they are also negligent. That is not true. Not all accidents stem from negligence. Bad weather and medical crises are example things that can cause an accident in which no one is found negligent.
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Also, the level of breach must be considered. Drivers breach their duty to care every day, several times a day. Failing to signal, roll-stopping and talking on the phone are all breaches of duty that people commit on a regular basis. The breach has to be significant enough to have caused the accident. While someone not signaling is a true breach it is not a substantial breach. If someone fails to signal, that will not override your duty to care which mandates that you give yourself enough time and distant to react to things like sudden stops and sudden lane changes. This brings us to causation the third element. Causation is being able to connect the damages a person has to a negligent act. This is one of the most difficult elements to prove. It’s not simply a matter of proving that someone caused an accident. It must be proven that the negligence caused every damage that a plaintiff is suing for and that is not a simple as it seems. If all of these elements are present, then you have a valid case.