What is Car Accident Law?
Car accident law refers to the legal rules that determine who is responsible for the private and property damage resulting from a traffic collision. This area of the law consists of the principles of negligence, as applied to this exacting category of personal injury cases. Like other cases in which negligence act applies, car accident litigation is governed almost completely by state law.
While nuances exist, car accident victims in every state should prove the same basic four elements in order to recover compensation. These elements are: duty, breach, causation, and injury. With respect to responsibility, drivers have a legal obligation to obey the rules of the road and to operate their vehicles in a rational manner. This way driving a safe speed, maintaining control, exercising awareness, observing traffic signals, by blinkers and headlights, etc.
The existence of a duty is typically accepted without much disagreement. Through contrast, the plaintiff will usually be required to offer evidence that the defendant breached that responsibility. Breach may be shown by direct evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, traffic surveillance video, or an admission of fault. Or, the plaintiff may want to resort to circumstantial evidence, such as skid marks, paint smudges, or blood alcohol readings.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
The first thing to do after a car accident is to remain silent about who is to guilt for the incident. As easy as this may seem, admitting fault is by far the most common mistake potential litigants create in the moments following a crash. Ordinarily, the rules of evidence do not allow out-of-court declarations (aka hearsay). But there is an exception for admissions. Even a simple apology may potentially be used against you.
Conversely, it is significant to make notes of any statements made by the other driver. A smart handset, tablet, or other electronic device may be great for recording voice memos in the chaos of an accident scene. By whatever means are accessible, gather as much detail about the accident as possible. To start with, take down the other driver’s name and address, license quantity, and insurance information.
Other evidence to preserve includes witness contact information, images of the road, traffic, and weather circumstances, and photographs of the motor vehicle. If your cell phone or camera has the capacity to evidence video, use it. Compose a video of the accident view up close and from a distance, including the position of traffic signs, crosswalks, and so forth. Also be confident to write down the names of police officers so it will be easier to get copies of their information.
Never overlook the significance of seeking immediate medical attention. The whiplash motions caused by car accidents can produce injuries the victim might not notice at first, but that become more pronounced as time passes. As a possible plaintiff in a negligence case, you do not desire the other driver’s lawyer to belittle the severity of your injuries, based on the fact that you did not feel it essential to seek treatment right away.