Elements to Prove in an Auto Accident Case
Automobile accident injury cases can be very complex and filled with myriad issues. However, when a legal representative such as West Palm Beach auto accident lawyer Stephen J. Press accepts a case, the foundational elements are rather straight forward, which is not to say they are easy to prove. These are generally referred to as breach of duty of care.The Elements
West Palm Beach auto accident Lawyer Stephen Press explains that four basic tests must be met in a Florida automobile accident case:
Duty of Care
For any personal injury case, the first element that must be proven is that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff. This duty is to behave in a manner which does not place others in danger. For an auto accident, duty of care is usually presumed when a driver gets behind the wheel. In other words, driving a motor vehicle automatically places a burden of this duty on the driver.
Breach of Duty
The first real test that West Palm Beach auto accident lawyer Stephen J Press and others must apply to an accident is determining whether the driver breached his duty of care. Courts use the so-called “reasonable person” standard in weighing the evidence in an auto accident lawsuit. In essence, the attorney for the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not act in a reasonable way to avoid an accident. Such reasonableness usually takes the form of a law that was broken, such as speeding or failure to yield to oncoming traffic.
The plaintiff or his counsel must be able to show that the breach of duty caused the auto accident. This is often one of the most difficult elements to prove. A common complicating factor is contributory negligence, which is when the plaintiff, who also owes a duty of care, contributed to the accident, himself. If contributory negligence is a factor, West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer Stephen J. Press will need to show that the plaintiff’s breach was less than 50% of the cause.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that the breach of duty, which caused the accident, led to identifiable damages. For an auto accident case, these damages must include documented injuries that resulted, as well as other losses such as damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle and loss of wages. Attorneys for the defendant will look for ways to challenge these damages. For instance, if the plaintiff has a pre-existing injury, this can be used to argue against cause.
If you are injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another, West Palm Beach auto accident lawyer Stephen J. Press would like to hear from you. You may be able to gain compensation for your losses. Call today for a free consultation at (888) 808-2772.