Terms Used in Car Wreck Negligence Cases

Terms Used in Car Wreck Negligence Cases

Jun 12

It’s a terrifying prospect: you’re driving your car on an ordinary day when disaster strikes. Another driver does something greedy or reckless, unfairly pulling you into his dangerous lifestyle. You’re the one who is hurt, while he walks away without a scratch. This is far from fair. You should not be punished because another driver was incapable of driving safely. So, what happens after you’re released from the hospital and have to get back to your normal life? Who pays all those medical bills?

We all know in general that when someone gets injured or dies in a car wreck as a result of negligence, the other driver will have to pay damages as compensation for the expenses incurred as well as pain and suffering. But what do the terms used in negligence cases actually mean?

Duty of Care

This phrase is used a lot when it comes to personal injury or wrongful death cases, but it doesn’t always mean the same thing for every circumstance. For example, the duty of care of a reasonable driver is to ensure that the operation of a vehicle will not result in harm to another person or persons. In medical malpractice, a reasonable physician’s duty of care is to provide effective medical attention in an appropriate and timely manner. A duty of care is therefore established when some sort of relationship between the plaintiff and defendant can be identified. And because of that relationship, the defendant is required to act in a certain manner.

Cause in Fact

In a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove that the actions of the defendant were the cause in fact, or the “but-for.” For example, but for the distracted driving of the defendant, the plaintiff would not have been injured in the car wreck.

Breach of Duty

When in individual is being sued for negligence, this means that person had failed to act in the prescribed manner and had thus broken or “breached” the duty of care. The main goals of personal or wrongful death lawyers are to prove or disprove to a jury that a breach of duty occurred. The people of the jury will consider the evidence and arguments presented to see if the defendant acted in a reasonable manner or not. If the defendant was shown to have breached the duty of care to the plaintiff, negligence is present.

Proximate Cause

To be found guilty of negligence, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant must or should have foreseen that his or her actions could lead to harm to others. This scope of responsibility will determine the extent of a plaintiff’s claim. For example, the defendant could have foreseen that texting while driving could cause a car wreck.


In order for a plaintiff to claim compensation, there must have been clear and actual damages to a person or property due to the negligence of the defendant. Even if the plaintiff had clearly been negligent by texting while driving, unless the plaintiff was personally and directly harmed, the court will not award any compensation to the plaintiff.

Personal injury or wrongful death cases can be highly complex. To ensure that all the aspects of your case are adequately addressed, consult with a lawyer in your area immediately after a car wreck due to negligence.

Car Wrecks

1 comment

  1. Personal injury is serious business and I am grateful that someone is writing about it.

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