Getting injured due to the negligence of another person is something that deserves justice. Luckily, there are laws in place which give you the right to pursue compensation against the at-fault party. Successfully proving negligence in your injury case will hold the negligent party responsible for any damages relating to the accident.
The Elements of Negligence
In order to prove a negligent auto accident case, you must be able to prove all “elements” of negligence were present during your accident. These elements may be challenging to prove alone, which is why many people choose to work with an injury attorney following their accident.
Duty of Care
In legal terms, duty of care refers to the obligation one has to avoid causing harm to others. For drivers in Louisiana, this duty involves:
- Adhering to Traffic Laws: This includes obeying speed limits, traffic lights, and stop signs, which are essential for maintaining orderly and safe traffic flow.
- Being Attentive: Drivers are expected to remain vigilant, keeping their eyes on the road and their hands on the steering wheel. This means no texting, making phone calls, or engaging in other distractions while driving.
- Maintaining the Vehicle: Ensuring that your vehicle is in good working order, including brakes, lights, and tires, is part of your duty of care.
Chopin Tip: Keep a record of your driving habits and vehicle maintenance as this may help in establishing that you upheld your duty of care.
Breach of Duty of Care
Proving that the other party acted out of their duty of care will help strengthen your case. However, you must also be able to prove that the party breached their duty of care.
Breaches can include:
- Traffic Violations: Running red lights, not using turn signals, and breaking speed limits.
- Impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Recklessness or Aggressiveness: Tailgating, weaving between lanes, or exhibiting road rage.
When the duty of care is breached, it means that the other driver failed to follow what was required of them, which resulted in others being injured.
Chopin Tip: Dashcam footage, witness testimonies, and police reports can be powerful evidence to prove a breach of duty of care.
Now that the duty of care and the breaching of said duty has been established, you must relate them to your accident. Causation is the explanation of how the breach of duty directly caused your injuries. It must also be proven that these injuries would not have occurred if the other party was following their duty of care.
In Louisiana, this involves proving:
- Direct Link: Establish a direct connection between the breach and your injuries. For example, if someone ran a red light and T-boned your car, this action directly caused the collision and your subsequent injuries.
- Foreseeability: Show that the injuries were a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s actions. If a driver is speeding, it’s foreseeable that they could cause an accident.
Chopin Tip: Medical records, accident reconstruction experts, and witness statements can help establish causation.
This is where the help of a qualified New Orleans car accident attorney will be crucial for your claim. An experienced attorney will be able to link the negligence to your injuries with ease. Call us today at (504) 475-2429 to learn how we can help.
Finally, you must be able to prove some sort of legally acceptable damage was done. This means either physical injuries or damage to property.
In Louisiana, these can include:
- Physical Injuries: This covers everything from minor injuries to severe ones, like broken bones, brain injuries, or even death.
- Property Damage: This includes damage to your vehicle or other property.
- Emotional Distress: Louisiana recognizes that victims can suffer emotionally. This can include anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
- Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If you’ve missed work or cannot continue in your former capacity due to your injuries.
- Medical Bills: This encompasses past and future medical expenses.
To receive compensation based on a breach of duty of care, you must prove that the other party’s breach was directly responsible for your injuries. Police and medical records will help you prove the damages, as statements from legal professionals will be strong evidence in your case.
Chopin Tip: Keep all receipts, invoices, and wage statements. Consult with a medical professional for documentation of any emotional distress.