When it comes to car accidents, if someone acts in a manner that is careless and that carelessness causes another person to be injured, it falls under what is known as the legal principle of “negligence.” This means that the careless person is generally considered liable for any type of resulting harm. Although you may think that it is fairly easy to win a case involving a negligent driver, there are actually four elements that must be established to show that the person was at fault.

First, there must be proof of “duty of driver.” This means that by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, the driver acknowledged that he or she would abide by the rules of the road, or rather, would follow the laws for driving a vehicle, be aware of one’s surroundings, and maintain control of the vehicle.

Second, there must be proof that the driver breached this duty by failing to act or by acting in a certain type of way. As an example, the driver’s duty is to keep one’s eyes on the road, but he or she was busy texting on a cellphone instead of paying attention to the surroundings.

Third, it was the driver’s action or inaction that was ultimately responsible for causing an injury to the other person. This is known as causation, or rather, the reason that the accident occurred. The driver was looking down at his or her phone, so was unaware that the car had shifted over into the opposite lane and into oncoming traffic.

Fourth, that there were actual damages caused by the driver’s actions. The other person was injured or harmed because the driver was not paying attention.

Individuals who have been injured by a negligent driver could be entitled to compensation for their injuries and may benefit from learning more about their legal rights.

Source: FindLaw, “Proving Fault: What is Negligence?” accessed Mar. 19, 2015