When your Atlanta car accident lawyer takes on your case, one of the most important elements of personal injury law they will consider is negligence. In legal terms, a person acts negligently when they act in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t and cause harm.
In order to prove negligence, your attorney will consider four general factors:
1. Duty of Care
Broadly speaking, every person has a duty of care to avoid harming another person. This duty looks different in specific situations. For instance, doctors have a duty of care to treat their patients to the best of their ability. Drivers have a duty not to cause harm to others on the road. They must follow all traffic laws and drive defensively.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
When a driver doesn’t act in a “reasonably prudent” way, and they cause injury, they are said to have breached their duty of care. However, not every accident is caused by a breach of duty of care. For instance, if a large branch falls in the road and a driver has to swerve to avoid it, causing an accident, that driver may not have breached their duty of care. After all, another reasonably prudent person likely would have reacted in the same way.
3. Injury Caused by the Accident
Third, your lawyer will evaluate whether your injuries were caused by the accident itself, and not some other factor. Insurance companies will look for ways to blame your injuries on other things and not the crash. For example, insurance companies will look back into your medical history to find some other prior event that they can blame for your injuries, like a prior car crash, workplace accident, or sports injury. It is important to have a lawyer who understands the medicine and science about your injury and can successfully show that the car crash is the reason you are hurt.
4. Real Damages Caused by the Accident
Finally, your lawyer must prove that you suffered real, monetary damages because of the accident. This is generally the easiest element to prove. Medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses are perfect evidence that you suffered real damages.