How Is Negligence Proven In Car Accident Claims?

You've been injured in a car accident and now you’re wondering what the next steps may be. You may be wondering how the medical bills and time away from work will be compensated, or if they are at all.

Finding negligence in an auto accident is a must if you plan on seeking compensation. There are certain criteria that must be met before a defendant can be held responsible for their negligence.

Four Elements

In most cases, there are four legal elements that must be met in order to prove a party’s negligence. These elements help hold the negligent party responsible while determining who is truly in the wrong.

These four elements are:

Duty of Care

Duty of care is the legal responsibility of an individual to avoid behaviors that may cause harm to another person. In the case of driving, each driver on the road is required to obey the traffic laws and act with safe intentions while driving.

Breach of Duty

Duty of care must have been breached to hold the defendant responsible. There must be supporting evidence that the party being held responsible broke the duty of care in some form. Some examples of duty of care being broken include:

  • Disobeying traffic signs

  • Driving under the influence

  • Speeding

  • Distracted driving


In addition to finding a breach of duty, the plaintiff must also prove that the damage done was caused by the defendant’s negligence. In most cases, if the defendant can’t be linked to the injuries, they will in most cases not be held liable.

Damage Done

The final step of the four legal elements is being able to calculate the losses and costs linked to the injury and put that number into a monetary amount. This is perhaps the most important part of filing a claim. If you are unable to put these numbers into a monetary value, your payout may be greatly reduced and possibly even denied.

Of the four elements, causation is the step that causes the most disputes. This is the case because the defendant typically claims that they are not responsible for the damage done to the plaintiff, or that the injuries sustained were a result of the plaintiff’s negligence.


To better explain how negligence is proven, some of the examples of negligent driving are:

  • Failure to obey traffic laws - Running red lights, speeding, and driving under the speed limit are all considered breaches of the duty of care.

  • Failure to control the vehicle - Swerving, stopping in unmarked locations, and disobeying the road guidelines are different ways that a lack of control is present.

  • Failure to properly use equipment - Not using your turn signal, failure to use hazard lights, and failing to dim high-beams are a few of the different ways that failing to use equipment shows negligence. Also within this category is the failure to maintain, which includes broken brake lights, headlights, etc.

How The Chopin Law Firm Can Help

While proving negligence may be a difficult task for those who don’t have the tools to do so, for a qualified New Orleans auto accident attorney, it’s just another day on the job. At The Chopin Law Firm, our car accident attorneys have years of experience dealing with the insurance companies.

They know what to say to help you seek maximum compensation for your claim. If you’ve been harmed, know that we’re ready to protect our clients at whatever cost it takes.

Call our firm today at (504) 475-2429 to discuss your case.


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